Wisconsin Utility Rate Cases Open for Comment

Public comments are being taken now by Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission for each of the utility’s rate restructuring plans. These will affect two-thirds of Wisconsin ratepayers. We Energies, WPS and MGE have filed major rate cases with the Public Service Commission to substantially increase the current fixed fees that customers pay while reducing the variable charges. The utilities’ case is that the restructuring is to cover their fixed costs for coal plants and other infrastructure. Increases proposed are 75% for We Energies customers, more than double and triple for WPS residential and business customers respectively and 85% for MGE. MGE has amended aspects of their request since July due to customer feedback.

In addition, 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. Also, We Energies wants to charge a monthly fee to those who generate renewable energy that goes into the grid while prohibiting grid connection to any homeowner, local government, business or organization that wants to install renewables through a third party lease. This will impact dairy farmers who generate biogas, and municipalities and businesses that generate electricity from methane gas at waste water treatment plants, landfills and food digesters. Concern is that these policies will make it less feasible or cost ineffective both to make energy efficiency upgrades and to use and install renewable systems on your property.

Comments can be filed on the PSCs website for the WPS rate change request case (Docket No. 6690-UR-123) through September 10; for We Energies (Docket No. 5-UR-107) until September 24, and for MGEs rate case (Docket No. 6690-UR-123) until October 1, 2014. Click on Public Comment on the PSC website, scroll down to the rate case, and click on the docket number in order to comment. To partake in a live, in-depth discussion of these cases with experts, join the UW-Extension webinar September 3, 12:00-1:30To read more about this issue