Wisconsin Power & Light Files for Higher Residential Base Rates, Lower Commercial Rates

by | May 24, 2016

Wisconsin Power & Light – a subsidiary of Alliant Energy that distributes electricity to 459,000 customers and natural gas to 180,000 customers in Dairyland – has filed (Docket No. 6680-UR-120) with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSCW) for adjusted electricity and natural gas base rates for 2017 and 2018, the utility announced on May 20. Under the new proposal, residential rates would rise and commercial rates would be cut slightly.

Specifically, residential customers using 700 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity would see their bills increase by 4.7 percent, or more than $4 a month, by 2018.

The residential bill impact includes a gradual increase in the fixed charge, currently $7.67, to $12 in 2017, and $18 in 2018. Alliant Energy’s residential fixed charge has ranged from $5 to $8 since 1995.These electric cost increases are offset, the company said, in part by reductions in projected 2017 fuel costs, which are included in this filing.

Conversely, commercial customers’ power rates would drop by 4 percent, with factories seeing a drop of 1.5% on average, spokesperson Annemarie Newman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

A residential natural gas customer using 772 therms/year would see an increase of $3.47/month, or 7.6 percent. The company did not provide the new rate structure for commercial natural gas customers.

The request to increase retail electric and natural gas base rates is Wisconsin Power & Light’s first since 2010. “Our request resulted from collaboration with the [consumer advocacy group] Citizens Utility Board and the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group and must be approved by the PSCW to become effective.”

The utility also has proposed several new pricing plans and options – among them:

  • Nights and weekends, which it describes as “ideal for those who can limit daytime weekday use;”
  • Fixed bill, which offers a set electric bill amount for 12 months with no true-up; and
  • Green power, which offers the ability to offset usage with locally sourced green power at reduced rates through the Alliant Energy Second Nature

 The PSCW review is expected to be completed by year-end 2016. These rates, if approved, would become effective January 1, 2017, and extend through the end of 2018. Alliant Energy will file its 2018 electric fuel cost plan in 2017

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