There’s a lot of talk in California these days about imposing fixed monthly charges on residential electricity bills. The large investor-owned utilities in California have small or no fixed charges, instead collecting all of their revenue from households through usage-based charges, called volumetric pricing. (And those volumetric prices increase steeply with your monthly usage, the “increasing-block pricing” approach that I discussed in September.)
Interestingly, one of the three natural gas distribution companies in California has a fixed charge, but the other two don’t (SoCal Gas has a charge that is about $5/month. Feel free to chime in if you know how this difference came to be.) Most other electric utilities in the U.S. do charge some fixed monthly fee for being hooked up to the electric grid.