Wisconsin Utilities File to Increase Fixed Rates to Customers – Could Have Big Consequences

We Energies, WPS and MGE have filed rate cases with the Public Service Commission to substantially increase the current flat fees that customers pay to cover fixed costs. Increases proposed are 75% for We Energies customers and more than double and triple for WPS residential and business customers respectively, and 85% for MGE customers (with a reduced charge for electricity use by MGE). Additionally, We Energies and Alliant asked the PSC to reduce the amount they pay to solar customers for the electricity they generate and feed back into the grid. These proposals are being challenged for potentially jeopardizing municipal, school, business and homeowner plans to install solar power and other approaches to enhance energy security, and reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions. The increased fixed cost would lengthen the time it takes to pay off investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, making their implementation less economically feasible.

The impetus for utility rate structure changes, and challenges to third party solar ownership and distributed generation is a changing marketplace where there is growing demand for customer-sited power generation and utilities are not the sole generators of power into their grids. This same scenario is occurring in many states while, in others, utilities have adopted a new model. To begin to read more about this issue, here are three sources: JSECWTPT