reach operational status by 1985. Beierle, of course, can’t wear the mantle of National Interest when promoting his dump, but he expects that the feds won’t fail to. Upshot: a smoother, slicker competitor is headed his way, so what to do? Hurry up, is what. The same week he quit Lamar County, he reappeared in Delta County, this time in the person of his SouthWest Nuclear secretary, a Mrs. David Slough, who circulated petitions in Cooper “asking” Beierle to reconsider a Delta County location. Waiting for him were Paul and Grace Swenson of Charleston, the leaders of the 1974-75 opposition. “We’ve been ready for Beierle the whole time,” said Grace Swenson. “We knew he wouldn’t go away.” This time around, Beierle sweetened his offer with a royalty pledge to the county of $.10 per cubic foot of waste he handles. On Dec. 13 he told the Cooper city council and the county commissioners that the public’s cut would come to $180,000 a year once the SouthWest Nuclear dump hit full stride. The commissioners weren’t impressed, though, and upheld last year’s 5-0 rejection of the dump scheme. \(The involvement of Beierle’s two teenaged sons in the vandalism of a Cooper cemetery in early December didn’t His defeat in Lamar County and his second defeat in Delta County leave him with four more northeast Texas counties to interest in his dump. But the Swensons and like-minded people in the area say they’ll dog Beierle until he gives up entirely. If nothing else. the pursuit should be good training for the campaign against a much more formidable pitchman, the friendly official from Washington. Nancy Jessee is regional editor of The Paris News. UTILITY OVERCHARGE Ten privately-owned electric utilities in Texas overcharged customers nearly $90 million in 1975, according to a report released by two public interest research groups in Washington. The overcharges represent the difference between the estimated federal tax bill the power companies dumped on customers during the year and the actual tax disbursements made the following April. Regulatory commissions in all 50 states permit utilities to pass their in come tax burden directly to customers; when an electric company applies for a rate increase, it calculates the tax due on its estimated income on the basis of the full corporate earnings tax rate of 48 percent; but when the utility prepares its tax return, it takes advantage of various loopholes that, abracadabra style, allow it to beat the 48 percent bite. And it pockets the difference. Texas electric companies did a better job of living up to their tax obligations than utilities in most other states last year, averaging a 19.75 percent rate ultimately paid. The national average in 1975 was 8.17 percent, a little more than a sixth of the statutory rate. Dallas Power and Light even managed to pay The full report, Phantom Taxes in your Electric Bill, is available for $2.50 from the Environmental Action Foundation, 724 Dupont Circle Building, Washington, D.C. 20036. more than the 48 percent corporate base rate and ended up charging customers $21 million less than they paid the govBut Texas electric customers still spent $90 million more on service than they should have in 1975. The breakdown by company: Utility Federal income taxes charged to customers Federal income taxes paid by utility* Tax overcharges Taxable income Taxes paid as a percentage of taxable income Central Power & Light Co. 22,593,921 13,202,000 9,391,921 51,894,236 25.44% Community Public Service Co 2,733,804 1,133,623 1,600,181 5,582,843 20.31% Dallas Power & Light Co. 16,183,051 37,394,932 77,537,309 48.23% El Paso Electric Co. 5,421,588 490,221 4,931,367 16,364,734 3.00% Gulf States Utilities Co. 27,510,813 13,008,199 14,502,614 81,330,947 15.99% Houston Lighting & Power Co. 51,477,117 19,455,000 32,022,117 121,862,501 15.96% Southwestern Electric Power Co 17,518,700 9,804,800 7,713,900 42,881,164 22.87% Southwestern Electric Power Co 14,769,125 8,229,085 6,540,040 45,071,848 18.26% Texas Electric Service Co. 30,577,408 19,955,481 10,621,927 82,152,281 24.29% Texas Power & Light Co. 34,681,376 12,955,577 21,725,799 100,123,333 12.94% West Texas Utilities Co. 11,534,000 9,458,300 2,075,700 24,624,544 38.41% *The figures in this column do not necessarily represent actual tax payments made by the utility to the Federal government. They are the amounts reported by each utility to the Federal Power Commission. Where a negative number appears, the utility is eligible for a refund of back taxes \(or a
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