Non-profit Group Claims GRU Customers Are Improperly Taxed
Published May 23rd, 2014
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Members of a special project of the state attorney general's office are looking into claims that Gainesville Regional Utilities has improperly over-taxed its customers repeatedly the last several years.
Officials with the Alachua County Seniors vs. Crime office say tens of thousands of GRU customers may be eligible for a $30 refund after the utility improperly applied a 10 percent municipal tax to one particular charge on monthly bills -- the electric customer charge.
John Caravella, the head of the office, says he began researching the issue after a GRU customer approached him with concerns about the amount of taxes the public utility was imposing on his monthly bills.
Caravella says state law mandates utilities -- like GRU -- can only apply the municipal tax on items in the bill that vary based on a person's electric usage -- also known as consumables.
"So when we saw that it's applied to a non-consumable, such as the electric customer charge, which is a fixed rate regardless of consumption, we looked into it a little bit further," said Caravella.
After doing the math, Caravella determined each individual GRU customer would be entitled to a $33.01 refund -- that's a total of more than $2.7 million GRU would be obligated to refund back to all of its customers.
GRU sent TV20 a statement saying the city attorney's office is looking into the claims and will respond to Seniors vs. Crime when they complete their review.
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