Surcharge…Right, Wrong or Illegal?

ear to the groundIt is just a few days away from the City Municipal elections and I decided to put my ear to the ground and try to come up with something other than candidate rhetoric to write about.

Well here it is. Brian Heady , Dr. Mallon and Dr. Katz .had an interesting conversation on Rhett Palmer’s radio show a while back and I thought I would share some of their conversation  on Bea-isms.

Now, understand this. I am only reporting what I heard on the show and this seems to be a big one.

Here’s what Dr. Mallon asked.

What is the reason for the surcharge? In fact, he said he has been trying to find this out for a very long time.

Well, knowing that I get a surcharge every month on my electric bill from the City I decided to find out the real definition of the word surcharge. Here it is folks.

A surcharge is an additional sum added to the usual amount or cost. 2. An overcharge, especially when unlawful. 3. An additional or excessive burden; an overload.

Dr. Mallon went on to say, “Why are we still paying this surcharge”?

Wouldn’t this be construed as a miss-appropriation of funds?

So, I’m thinking…Is there not one elected official who will ask the question and get an answer….why is that fuel charge still on our bills?

If I were going to ask a pledge of anyone running for city council I think I would want them to pledge that they will do away with this additional burden on the ratepayers called a fuel adjustment or surcharge or whatever sugar coated name they want to call it. Let’s get our rates down in every way possible until such time that we can get the lowest rates in the State from FPL as they claim will soon happen.

And, if this council or any council now or in the future will not address this issue of excessive overcharges on our electric bills then perhaps a class action lawsuit might be in order. Just saying.

Dr. Mallon went on to say that it seems that our government is gambling with our money by gambling on future costs of fuel and they continue to take this money from us each month with no letup in sight.

It looks to me like they do this simply because they have been doing it and getting away with doing this for so long and no one has ever called them on this. It is highway robbery in my eyes and you know what happens to robbers. They eventually get caught and thrown in jail. Just saying.

  1. SilentM says:

    Hi Bea, hope your eye is healing up. I think the fuel surcharge is a calculation based on the cost of fuel from a base amount. It’s called a surcharge on the bill if they are charging more than the base rate, it’s called a fuel refund if they decide to refund the difference if fuel costs are less than anticipated.

    It’s not an instant process either and it is a bit confusing since on Vero power most of it is supplied through OUC/FMPA contracts, of which not all power is generated by the same fuel.

    It would be good information to have if you could figure out what formula is being used and how they apply the current cost of fuel to the bill.

    • SilentM says:

      Oh yea, I see you are talking out surcharges in general. I will have to look at my electric bill to figure it out. If they are lumping all surcharges together, such as whatever percent they assign to fund the city, that is something else.

  2. Bea-isms says:

    BTW, Brian Heady was a bit of a dud on this issue. He made noises like….yeah, I tried to get that information from people and never did get an answer. He just repeated what Dr. Mallon was saying. On this subject it sounded to me like he was all noise and no action.

  3. Sally Dillon says:

    It’s a surcharge unless it is a fee, like in the case of Obamacare. Did you know every single American, whether enrolled in it or not, will be required to pay an annual $63 fee? Surcharges and fees will get abused until the people get a belly full and pick up pitchforks and torches.

    • SilentM says:

      “But if you like your plan you can keep it” We already got our cancellation in the mail from Blue cross. There will be allot of built in fees on our new policy if we decide to go to the “exchanges”.

      How about this, everybody who is more than 10 years from retirement just decide to pay the “tax” for not having insurance and go ahead and bankrupt the whole system and then see what happens.

      I think the average person is ignorant on what is going on, you could call it an Ice Cream fee and maybe 1% of the population would question it.

  4. savannah.ga says:

    bea, fpl has fuel cost.

  5. Bea-isms says:

    So, is FPL overcharging too? Is it a fuel cost or a surcharge? Does the city have a surcharge for city and county users alike?

  6. savannah.ga says:

    fuel costs that are added in when the costs of fuel goes up. it does charge for the counties behalf on what is called a franchise fee. “fuel costs are as follows, first 1000kwh at .026330, over 1000 kwh at .036330” it may be similar to what the city does. I have been asked by my sil what that is. it appears to be the same.

  7. Bea-isms says:

    Sally, County customers are paying a surcharge and a FEE. They call it a Franchise Fee. 6% of the total bill is how this franchise fee is tacked on.

    Here’s the way it works, the County charges all of it’s county customers who are on City Water a six percent franchise fee. To make matters more comical on this franchise fee the city spends their money and does all the accounting and adds this COUNTY FRANCHISE FEE to the city bill, then they collect it for the County and then they pay it back to the County for almost $3 million dollars a year for the Franchise Fee.

    Now, what get’s me irked is that the County Customers who are on City electric are paying the “fuel charge or surcharge or whatever you want to call it along with the Franchise Fee and everyone is now paying the high priced attorney fees that have been added into the bills too…. and we are also paying for some maintenance (another add on) that was done to the plant. This was added into the bills because our “brilliant” FPL Friendly City Council chose to pay this maintenance off with cash instead of financing it and socked it to all of us to pay for it.

    Oh, BTW, once the city sells to FPL the City Customers will also be paying this six percent to their “new and improved” FPL Electric Bill.

    Now, I remember when I was running for County Commission I met with Joe Baird and asked him why the County charges this “franchise fee” and he said….”because we can”. Then a while later I had an opportunity to ask the very same question to Commissioner Salami during a Q & A talk he gave and he answered the same as Baird. I simply asked, why do county customers pay 6 % more on this thing you call a franchise fee and he said…”because we can”

  8. Cathy Katrovitz says:

    So how come Mr. Heran, Dr. Feherty, and Mr. Wilson haven’t gotten riled up about the county franchise fee? It isn’t like the county did anything to earn it. At least the City provides the who, the what, the where, the when and the how for electric customers.

  9. JAN says:

    We pay a franchise fee on a cable, telephone and what ever else one subscribes to.

    • JAN says:

      I am on city utilies, have never seen a county bill. Does it say surcharge on the bill?
      Surcharge is not the same as fuel adjustment. The city chose to show it that way, were as some companies just show the total bill. We also pay a tax on the bill.

  10. savannah.ga says:

    yes its only a few dollars for me. its under the label franchise fee. what I posted was the fuel costs.

  11. Cathy Katrovitz says:

    Obviously surcharge is just another method for adding on a tax to a variety of services–government and non.

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