monthly rates have been green-lit to increase from
$10.44 to $19 starting in 2015.
State regulators approved higher electric rates for tens of
thousands of Dane County customers Wednesday, completing a
trifecta of increases for electric consumers across
Wisconsin heading into next year.
three-person Public Service Commission granted Madison Gas
and Electric permission to raise its fixed monthly rates
from $10.44 to $19 starting in 2015. The utility's proposal
also calls for reducing its hourly usage rate by a few
cents. The PSC estimates the changes taken together will
mean typical residential customers who use 550 kilowatts per
hour will see a $3 increase in their monthly bill.
commission also approved reducing MGE's natural gas rates by
$2. The utility supplies both natural gas and electricity to
about two-thirds of its 143,000 customers in Dane County;
those customers would see a $1 increase when the gas
decrease is set against the electric increase.
Chairman Phil Montgomery and Commissioner Ellen Nowak, both
appointed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, supported the
plan. Commissioner Eric Callisto, who was appointed by
former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, abstained.
spokesman declined comment.
approval marks the third time this month the commission has
given a utility the green light to increase rates.
November the PSC gave Wisconsin Public Service Corporation,
which serves about 444,000 customers in northeastern and
north-central Wisconsin, permission to raise its fixed
monthly rates from $10.44 to $19 but drop its variable rates
by a few cents, resulting in a $3 average monthly increase
for residential customers.
later the commission allowed We Energies, which serves about
1.1 million customers across southeastern Wisconsin and the
Fox Valley, to raise its fixed monthly rate from $9 to $16
and drop its usage rate by less than a cent, resulting in a
$1 increase on the typical monthly residential bill.
utilities say the fixed rate increases are designed to
ensure low-usage customers pay their fair share of
maintaining delivery infrastructure such as power plants and
transmission poles. Consumer advocates and other opponents
contend the increases are really an attempt to recoup
revenue lost to conservation and essentially punish
customers for turning off their lights.
The PSC is
expected to issue formal written approvals for each of the
three utilities' changes by the end of the year.