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Electrical Utility Franchise Fee

Electric Bills: From City of Santa Barbara Public Works Director

During negotiations between the City and Southern California Edison (SCE) in 1999, City Council approved a 1% increase (from 1% to 2%) to the City’s Franchise Fee with SCE. The revenue from the additional 1% Franchise Fee will be split equally between a special fund for the undergrounding of overhead electrical lines on city streets and the City’s General Fund. This additional 1% Franchise Fee will appear on residents’ bills beginning in November 2005 and will be characterized on the bill as a “City Franchise Surcharge.”

Originally, this increased Franchise Fee was to be implemented in 2001. However, the City Council delayed implementation during what was a period of unusually high electric bills. On March 30, 2005, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved the 1% Franchise Fee increase, effective on August 12, 2005. The Franchise Fee increase was not implemented until November 2005, to allow SCE time to reprogram their billing system to accommodate the fee.

SCE has advised the City that the increased franchise fee will be included on bills dated on or after November 17, 2005. On your November or December bill, the amount on this line will exceed 1% in order to recover amounts that were due from the CPUC-authorized effective date of August 12, 2005. Your normal bill will resume in January 2006. If you have further questions, call the City Public Works Department at (805) 564-5377.

Last Updated: Apr 22, 2013