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Group Says New California Utility Fee Unfair

A utility watchdog group says California regulators are unfairly tacking on new fees to utility bills.  The latest fee will pay for a $600-million think tank on climate change.  KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

Figure on paying another 25-cents or so on your monthly utility bill for the next ten years.

The California Public Utilities Commission voted to add the charge to pay for a $600 million institute to study climate change.

Mindy Spatt is with The Utility Reform Network.  She says consumers are already paying their fair share for renewable energy and conservation programs -- fees already part of the monthly charges.  

Spatt says the PUC needs to stop funding new programs on the backs of consumers.
Spatt: We can't forget that electricity is a necessity in this day and age and we need to keep electricity bills affordable. These other environmental programs should be funded by taxes or some other way.
The PUC says the $600 million institute is an investment in California's future and will directly benefit ratepayers.

Spatt says the institute is unlikely to translate into any real benefits for the consumers who will pay for them.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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