The N.C. Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to require utility companies to pass along a corporate income tax cut to their customers.
Sen. Bob Rucho, a Mecklenburg County Republican, said the bill targets the one company that’s still overcharging customers: Dominion N.C. Power.
“Nearly every one of the utilities, both electric and gas, supported our intent and actually returned the overcollected corporate income tax,” Rucho said. “The only one of those corporations that chose not to do what they should have done as a good corporate citizen was Dominion.”
Dominion is a Virginia-based company that provides electricity to parts of northeastern North Carolina.
The Senate will take a final vote on the bill Monday night before it moves to the House.
Senators said they intended for customers to benefit when they lowered the corporate income tax rate from 6.9 percent to 5 percent. But Dominion opted instead to pocket the difference, leaving utility bills unchanged. The extra revenue was calculated at $1.4 million for Dominion.
Other power companies decided not to overcharge customers for corporate income taxes they weren’t paying.
Dominion’s position was backed by the N.C. Utilities Commission last October, which voted 4-3 along party lines to allow the practice. The commission’s four Republicans supported the overcharging.
But Senate Republicans led the legislative effort to clarify the law.
“It was the intention of this body to ... show the savings and pass along the savings to the consumers,” said Sen. Bill Rabon, the Southport Republican who sponsored the legislation, Senate Bill 19.