Americans to Save $2.8 Billion on Utility Bills as Companies Lower Rates After Tax Cuts

June 7, 2018 Updated: June 8, 2018

Americans will save more than $2.8 billion on water, electricity, and gas bills due to rate reductions by utility companies as they pass on savings from the tax cuts approved by Republicans in Congress and signed by President Donald Trump.

According to Americans for Tax Reform, at least 101 utility companies around the country reduced rates for customers based on the windfall from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent.

“When Democrats threaten to raise taxes if they get back into power, they are threatening to raise your utility bill—month after month,” Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said in a statement.

Americans for Tax Reform previously tracked the impact of the tax-cut bill on paychecks. The organization found that more than 4 million Americans received tax-cut related bonuses and pay raises.

The list includes public statements from many companies linking the rate reduction to tax cuts.

Tampa Electric in Florida told customers in March that it won’t raise rates in order to pay for restoration costs for damage caused by Hurricane Irma.

“Because of recent changes made to the federal tax law, customers will directly benefit,” a statement from the company said. “What Tampa Electric would have paid in corporate income taxes will instead be used to the cost of restoring power after Hurricane Irma and several other earlier named.”

Michigan-based Consumers Energy is passing on $200 million in tax-cut based savings on to customers, the company said in January.

“We are thrilled to be able to pass along 100 percent of the savings from tax reform to the people we are privileged to serve,” the company’s CEO, Patti Pope, said in a statement. “This underscores our commitment to people, planet, and prosperity for all of Michigan.”

Birmingham-based Alabama Power cut rates by 9 percent for a total of $257 million. The company also committed to no base rate increases until 2020 and to credit customers $50 million per year.

DTE Energy in Detroit estimated its customers will save $190 million in 2018.

“The recent passage of the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will offer benefits to energy customers across the country,” the company said in a press release.

Cuts in utility costs are a boon to Republicans as the 2018 midterm elections approach. No Democrat voted for the tax cuts. Trump has warned voters that Democrats will take away the cuts if they secure a majority in the House and Senate.

“A Democratic lawmaker just introduced a bill to Repeal the GOP Tax Cuts (no chance),” Trump wrote on Twitter on May 28. “This is too good to be true for Republicans.”

The tax cuts are largely linked to economic progress made since the beginning of the year. Trump signed the measure into law in late December last year.

Since then, the unemployment rate dropped to an 18-year low and the number of job openings surpassed the number of job seekers for the first time on record. The gross domestic product grew by an average of 2.9 percent over the past four quarters, higher than any of the eight years of the Obama administration.

Republicans are already planning a second round of tax cuts. GOP leaders are considering votes on a measure to make permanent the temporary tax cuts for individuals passed last year. Republicans are likely to move forward with the plan, since Democrats either will hand them a victory by supporting the bill, or will be painted as opponents of the middle class if they block it.

 

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