Wisconsin Utilities to Refund $28.3M in Fuel Savings to Customers,

Nearly 1.2 million Wisconsin ratepayers will see electric bill refunds this fall as utilities return millions of dollars in fuel cost savings.

The Public Service Commission Thursday ordered Alliant Energy, Xcel and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation to return about $28.3 million to customers in September.

Madison Gas and Electric will be allowed to hang on to about $1.5 million in customer funds while it negotiates with customer advocates on rates for the next two years.

The for-profit utilities together over-collected more than $29 million in 2019 as lower natural gas prices, renegotiated contracts and market sales resulted in fuel costs that were lower than forecast.

The PSC sets electricity rates one to two years in advance based on fixed expenses — such as power plants and wires — as well as the estimated cost of fuel.

Under state law, actual fuel costs can vary up to 2% from the estimates: if actual costs fall below the threshold, utilities must refund the difference, plus interest; if actual costs go above, utilities can collect it from ratepayers.