Forced Charity Is Not Charity (Forced Giving Via Power Bill)

The following was recently forwarded to me from a credible source and, taken on face value, demonstrates, yet again, “do-gooders” using governmental force to fund their pet project:

A matter of urgency has come to my attention regarding our Rocky Mountain Power bill and the Utah State Legislature.  If you will take note of a fee on your bill listed as Home Electric Lifeline Program (HELP) you may or may not be aware of the nature of this fee.  The fee is used to support a program that assists low-income recipients with their monthly power bill payment.  I recently personally called Rocky Mountain Power to remove this fee from my bill.  I was informed that was not possible as it was mandated by state legislation. The State of Utah and PacifiCorp (Rocky Mountain Power) have teamed up.  According to Docket Nos. 03-035-01 and 04-035-21 issued 23Nov2005 it is stated that on 4March1999 the Commission concluded it had the authority to adopt a lifeline rate program for certain residential ratepayers. The docket can be viewed at On Electric Orders and Notices select Year 2005, select November, on Docket Nos. 03-035-01 select Report and Orders. Please note on page 8 the lack of support by the organization L&T (Light and Truth) represented by Paul F. Mecham and recorded as, “L&T now testifies “HELP” is contrary to the public interest and is unjust and unreasonable . . . there is no demonstrated benefit to the public who pays the “HELP” surcharge . . . objected to the lack of provision for voluntary participation by supporters of a cost-effective low-income program.” Please also note bottom of page 15 of the docket wherein the Commission states, “We find “HELP” … is cost effective, meaning all ratepayers are better off and there is no subsidy or charity involved.”  The latter is true.  A state mandated requirement to pay for someone else’s power bill would not qualify as charity. James Madison said, “I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation.” The Home Electric Lifeline Program fee required by PacifiCorp (Rocky Mountain Power) and the State of Utah is an abridgement of our freedom and an encroachment of our legislators.  I implore you to contact your representatives and voice your opinion on this matter. HOUSE ROSTER: SENATE ROSTER: If you do not know who your reps are, try this link or call your county clerk. Charity itself is a good means to assist others, but forced giving to it is simply wrong and, in my opinion, harms the effort. 

Ultimately, forced charity is not charity.  Individuals should be allowed to choose which charities they support, period. Like the author states: “…contact your representatives and voice your opinion on this matter.” Update: Fixed the last few links in the quote.  Sorry about that (my bad).


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