With less than six (6) days to go, the California State Legislature is attempting a “gut and amend” which would impose a $2.5 billion surcharge on electric ratepayers at an amount of $0.005 per kWh through the year 2051. For our members, that equates to $7,000 to $20,000 in additional annual electricity cost depending upon usage! The legislation begins with talking about the more than 500 wildfires this year, yet they admit they were caused by lightning. Nothing in this bill can or will stop lightning from occurring. Furthermore, the more than $2.5 billion raised by this surcharge on our members will be used for things like $50 million for the Air Resources Board to find alternatives for pile burning, $200 million for forest restoration, $300 million to Strategic Growth Council for cooling centers and backup solar power, and $50 million to restore flows in the San Joaquin River. Where’s the connection to lightning caused fires? Association President/CEO Roger Isom stated “It is unacceptable in a year like 2020 to think it is okay to levy $2.5 billion in taxes on the very ratepayers who are keeping Californians employed during this pandemic. Adding $7,000 to $20,000 in annual electricity bills to the businesses in California, who already pay the highest electricity rates in the country, is simply unacceptable. To use these funds for projects like restoring flows in the San Joaquin River, cooling centers and pile burning under the guise of reducing fire risk is inexplicable.” We urge every one of our representatives to oppose yet another tax increase and vote NO on AB 1659.