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Money Sense: Does your utility company owe you money? - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Money Sense: Does your utility company owe you money?

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CROWLEY, La. -

With president Trump's tax reform this year, came cuts to tax rates at private companies across the country.

Lower taxes leave those companies with extra cash. That's why your utility company could owe you money.

Electricity, water, and sewer, as well as natural gas companies, caught a break when tax reform took effect at the start of the year. Now, Louisiana's Public Service Commission said it's time their customers get some relief too.

"Their taxes have been reduced, so the customer's bill is going to be reduced," said District 4 Commissioner Mike Francis.

A few weeks ago, the commission informed all of the privately-held companies it regulates that any surplus from the cuts would be reimbursed and monthly rates would be lowered.

"So if you have a meter on the side of your house and your electricity is from CLECO or Entergy, you're going to receive a tax break," said Francis.

But what if your meter says something like SLEMCO or LUS? The commission said those customers won't see a change in their bill because they, and some other utility companies, are already tax exempt. 

"Lafayette Utilities is a municipality that pays no taxes either, so there are no tax benefits," said Francis. 

Francis said with the tax cuts bringing rates from 35 percent all the way down to 21 percent, many customers will see a decrease in their bill--as much as a couple of dollars each month.

"It's going to take us about six months to study to know exactly how many dollars will go back to the ratepayers, but we're going to make sure we go all the way back to Jan. 1 and give back that money," said Francis.

Francis said the utility companies will likely give customers a lump sum first as reimbursement from the beginning of the year after that is when customers will start to notice the drop in monthly fees.

"In our opinion, we needed to give it back to the ratepayers. They're the ones who deserve a tax break," said Francis.

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