American energy consumption since 1776
Happy Fourth of July to all of our readers. Did you know that virtually all of the energy used by Americans until 1850 was renewable? From 1776 to 1850, wood…
Despite what its detractors say, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed last year has been an unqualified success. Unemployment is at its lowest rate since 1969, wages are rising in critical industries like manufacturing, and we now have a situation where employers are struggling to find employees, not unemployed people struggling to find jobs.
Economic gains were part of the sales pitch for the tax cuts, but Minnesotans have also experienced a host of unexpected benefits from them, including refunds from electric utilities.
Because the tax cuts reduced the corporate tax income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, Xcel Energy had $136 million in tax savings that are being passed on directly to its customers.
According to the Strib, Xcel’s average residential electricity customer — someone who pays $85 to $90 per month — will get a refund of about $45 as a one-time bill credit. The company’s average residential gas customer — who pays around $48 a month — will get a one-time bill credit of about $8. Xcel said it expects the refunds will be made by year’s end.
Don’t forget, electric utilities aren’t really private companies, they are government approved monopolies, meaning they are guaranteed to make profits, even when they make poor investment decisions like replacing existing, affordable power plants with more expensive and less efficient sources of electricity.
“It’s money ratepayers paid that they should not have had to pay,” said Dan Lipschultz, a member of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
So the next time you hear someone say they didn’t personally benefit from the tax cuts bill, you can point to at least one concrete example of how they saved about 4.4 percent on their electric bills directly because of the tax cuts.