Representative Blake Filippi introduces legislation to relieve electricity ratepayers

We received the following press release from Rhode Island Representative Blake Filippi.

Blake Filippi

STATE HOUSE – Representative Blake Filippi (I – District 36: Block Island, Charlestown, South Kingstown, & Westerly) has introduced 2015-H 5340, which aims to relieve electricity ratepayers from state taxes that are imposed on the recently approved rate hike for National Grid — as well as any future electricity rate increases approved by the Public Utilities Commission.

“The media has extensively publicized the dramatic increases in electricity rates over the years. What may not be widely known is that Rhode Island’s tax coffers stand to benefit any time our electricity bills increase – whether it be from this rate increase, government mandated efficiency programs or green energy standards,” Filippi said.

National Grid’s 2015 rate hike will raise electricity costs on our ratepayers by approximately $77 million over 2014’s rates, and the state stands to earn a windfall of over $5 million in additional tax receipts due to this increase. The $5 million figure is derived by factoring the gross earnings tax and the business sales tax on electricity usage against the $77 million in additional electricity costs. When electricity prices increase, the state makes more money off its residents and businesses,” explained Filippi.

“H -5340 will freeze the gross earnings tax and the sales tax as of December 31, 2014. Accordingly, ratepayers will not pay taxes on National Grid’s latest increase, nor will they suffer additional tax consequences on the projected increases in electricity bills due to the State’s aggressive alternative energy programs that will soon go online.”

“Rhode Islanders are struggling to make ends meet; H-5340 will provide some much-needed relief and lower energy costs for everyone in the state.  Taking measures to reduce the high energy costs in our state will help our families, neighbors and the business community.  We need to keep our money working in the economy, rather than in the state’s general fund. Furthermore, the state should not benefit from the increased cost of electricity – which in many cases is caused by state mandates. It is a matter of economics and principle,” added Filippi.

Rep. Filippi said, “I look forward to support from my legislative colleagues, constituents and all ratepayers in Rhode Island to see this bill through to passage. We Rhode Islanders deserve no less.”