Senate Approves Bill Saving Low-Income Californians Money on Their Electric Bills
SACRAMENTO – Late yesterday, Senate Bill 1135 was approved on the Senate Floor with bi-partisan support. This bill, authored by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), will preserve the Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) program in California law, while increasing the discount families may receive through the program, from 12 percent to 18 percent.
“Unlike its sister program, the California Alternate Rates for Energy program, the FERA program is in danger of being modified or halted at any point in time by merely three members of the California Public Utilities Commission,” said Senator Bradford. “SB 1135 will prevent this from happening by establishing FERA as a permanent regulatory program and updating the discount eligible customers may receive to better reflect the needs of working families.”
In 2004, the California Public Utilities Commission ordered the state’s three largest electrical corporations to provide relief for households of three or more, who are not eligible for the CARE program. By 2005, the FERA program had been implemented to provide a 12 percent discount to households with an annual income level between 200 percent and 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. A family of four is eligible for the FERA program if they have an annual income of $50,201 to $62,750.
“While the cost of living in California continues to rise, the FERA program’s discount has remained unchanged.” continued Bradford. “Far too many Californians, such as those living in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, and Los Angeles region, may be enrolled in this assistance program, but not receiving a discount that accurately reflects the program’s purpose. SB 1135 will go a long way in supporting families and helping keep electricity bills at an affordable rate.”
Senator Bradford represents the Los Angeles County communities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, San Pedro, Torrance, Watts, Willowbrook, and Wilmington.