PSC Approves Rate Hikes for We Energies, Wisconsin Public Service

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission approved overall electric rate hikes of 8.8 percent for We Energies and 9 percent for Wisconsin Public Service, according to commission staff. The increase is higher than what utilities initially proposed, but less than changes they suggested later that would have shifted more costs to residential customers.

This fall, the utilities owned by Milwaukee-based WEC Energy Group asked for electric rate hikes of 13 percent for We Energies residential customers and a nearly 15 percent increase for Wisconsin Public Service, or WPS, ratepayers. That increase would have cost the average homeowner at least $14 more per month beginning in January.

Now, We Energies residential customers will see a nearly 11 percent increase that will cost them $11 to $12 more per month, according to preliminary figures from the commission and utilities. WPS customers will spend $9 more per month.

For natural gas, commission staff estimate rates will increase 6.2 percent, or roughly $47 annually, for Wisconsin Gas customers and 9.5 percent, or roughly $63 annually, for Wisconsin Electric Gas customers. WPS gas rates will climb 7 percent overall. With heating bills slated to rise, the utilities expect gas customers to pay $20 to $30 more per month this winter, including the rate hikes.

Utilities are raising rates as they face increasing costs due to inflation, clean energy projects and plans to increase the resiliency of its system in the face of extreme storms. Brendan Conway, spokesperson for the utilities, said they’re still evaluating the decision. Even so, he said typical bills for residential customers will remain under the national average.

The commission is expected to finalize and approve a written order on its decision this month. We Energies serves more than 1.1 million electric customers and 1.1 million natural gas customers in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Public Service provides electricity to 457,000 electric customers and 338,000 natural gas customers.