What is that Fee?

“With gas and food prices going up and now these extra seven dollars here and six dollars there… you know, it all ads up.” The fee Strom referred to is a charge found on most utility bills. You'll often find it itemized under “tax” or “franchise” fee.

Strom says it's not fair that she should have to cover the company's cost of doing business in her neighborhood. However, according to Sean Sever of Nevada's Public Utilities Commission, that money doesn't go to the company charging it. It actually goes right back into your community.

He says the fee is determined by the city or county in which the utility is operating. According to Sever all that money goes right back into local Governments. “It’s basically a way for local cities and counties to generate revenue.” He told KOLO 8.

The money is then used to cover the maintenance of public lands where the utilities have negotiated to keep equipment like power lines. Still, Strom says, she's tired of footing the bill, and she suggests making the utility companies cover half the cost of the Franchise Fee.

The bottom line is those franchise fees are legally added to your bill and the utility company is pretty much powerless to remove them. That’s because they’re legislated and required by the communities in which the company operates. Thankfully, state law does cap the amount that can be charged at 5 percent of your total bill.

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