Thursday, February 18, 2010

It Wasn't The Energy Tax, Stupid!

Taxes, Fees, And Surcharges Are Bane Of New York's Utilities

For all the hoopla about the 2.5% energy tax during last year's campaign for Nassau County Executive, turns out that the $2.50 or so per month saved by residential ratepayers as a result of its repeal hasn't made much of a dent in that electric and gas bill.

In fact, although LIPA recently approved a 4% reduction in the Power Supply Charge, the typical bill will still go up for most residential customers. [That's the little guy. Thanks for asking.]


Simple. A 7% increase in property taxes, and a NYS Assessment (not to be confused with the Nassau County Assessment), through which thirteen cents on every dollar paid to LIPA will go the the State. [That it will never come back to taxpayers is yet another sad story.]

Then there's the LIPA-imposed charges, adding fuel to the furnace.

An Efficiency and Renewables charge, equal to about 2% of the monthly tab. [If they're so efficient, why do they have to charge for it?]

Revenue-Based PILOTS (Payments in Lieu of Taxes), accounting for some 11% of your bill. [PILOTS, eh? Up up and away!]

And don't forget the PCA (Pipeline Cost Adjustment), SBC (System Benefits Charge), and Billing charge (Just for the heck of it, we suppose) on your bill from National Grid (Gas).

Add to all of this the State Sales Tax and, before you know it, more than 15% of your utility cost goes for taxes, fees, and surcharges.

Hmmm. Isn't this why we got rid of LILCO?

So much for a public authority saving the ratepayer dollars and cents, or the Public Service Commision (PSC) watching our backs. [What next? A PSC "rubber-stamp" surcharge? Why not?]

Fact is, New Yorkers are being nickeled and dimed by their own government, State-wide and locally, their piggy banks raided daily in ways we may barely notice, but that certainly add up, big time.

It's not taxation without representation, as some suggest. No. It's worse than that. It's taxation by misrepresentation. The utter failure of those with whom we place the public trust to spend judiciously and tax sparingly.

Today LIPA, tomorrow license plates. Thomas Edison -- and P.T. Barnum -- must be turning over in their graves. [If only we could find a way to tax that, too...]

Forget the electric light, folks. Bring back gaslight, where, in the flickering dim, we can all be manipulated, for nefarious reasons, into believing something other than the truth.


  1. You're right: the dead can't be taxed for the privelege of turning over in their graves. On the other hand, the Town of Hempstead comes pretty close. If you happen to have a loved one whose final resting place is Greenfield, and you would like to add to or amend a pre-existing headstone, you'll be paying a fee to the Town of Hempstead on top of paying a contractor. Since all the work is done by the contractor - not the Town - this is obviously just another way for our fearless leaders to grab your wallet. After all, who would balk at properly memorializing the dead, just because they refuse to pay a fee to the Town?

    The bigger point is that there's a game that gets played out, not just in Hempstead, but by elected officials at every level of government. By coming up with new and creative ways to charge fees, or increasing existing fees, the yahoos we have in office can continue to claim they're "holding the line on taxes" even while they reach ever more deeply into our pockets.

  2. Can we get the people who run Freeport Electric to take over LIPA?

    At the end of the day, Freeport Electric provides the identical service for homeowners and businesses as LIPA, but at a savings of 30%. They even got rid of some of those hideous looking power lines and buried them underground where they belong.

    What's Freeport Electric doing that LIPA can't?