WEC Energy Group is seeking government regulatory approval to increase its electricity rates between 5% and 6%, or about $60 to $72, for the typical residential customer, starting in 2023.
The increase will affect We Energes and WPS customers. The last time WEC Energy Group requested a price increase was in 2019.
The average We Energies residential customer currently pays about $109 per month, up about 14% from 2011.
The average WPS customer pays about $92 per month, up about 19% from 2011. The national average is $122 per month.
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“Even with that demand, when you look at us, versus our peers, even with that demand, our bills would still be below the national average and in line with the Midwest average,” said Burt Garvin, executive vice president of foreign affairs. Interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Additionally, We Energies’ natural gas customers will see a slight increase in their monthly bills in 2023 as part of the plan. Billing for We Energies steam customers in downtown Milwaukee will remain relatively flat in 2023.
The Public Service Commission will determine the actual rate increase after reviewing the application and holding a hearing, which will be scheduled at a later time.
After keeping prices frozen for four years, utilities raised interest rates by 1.9% in 2020. And rates were not raised in 2021 or 2022.
Tom Continent, executive director of the Citizen Facilities Council, said his experts will provide certification for the PSC when the case unfolds. The content said the utilities’ profits are well above the national average and the focus should be on savings.
“At a time when we see significant cost pressures across the economy, including what we saw with heating bills this winter, every increase needs to be examined,” the content said. “This is another pill to swallow.”
The content said it was also not clear what the proposed increase would be in 2024, as the WEC requested that the price case be left open.
“We Energies’ customer bills have been rising much faster than inflation — up 92% for a typical residential customer since 2001, versus a 49% jump in inflation,” Contents
In late May, We Energies will update the files to include more specific information about the impact for each customer group. The company will also make this information available to customers by listing the invoice and on we-energies.com.
Converting utility into clean energy
WEC Energy Group’s proposal comes at a time when utilities are in the midst of the largest clean energy transition in the company’s history.
This shift will ultimately save $1 billion over the next 20 years, Garvin said, as old, less efficient fossil fuel stations are shut down and replaced with solar power.
WEC Energy Group, Wisconsin’s largest utility, will retire 1.8 gigawatts of coal and natural gas generation as part of its effort to become carbon neutral by 2050. The plan includes the retirement of 1,100 megawatts from the South Oak Creek coal plant over the next five years.
WEC energy officials told the Public Service Commission Thursday that WPS needs to recover $290 million and We Energies needs to recover $835 million for renewable energy projects approved or awaiting approval in 2022.
These projects include Badger Hollow 2, a $175 million plant west of Dodgeville. The $390 million Paris Solar-Battery Park project in Kenosha County; And 158 million dollars Red Barn Wind Farm near Madison.
A $402 million solar and storage project in Darien has not been approved by the PSC.
Corrinne Hess can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @corrihess
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