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Why utility rate cases matters?

Designing electric rates that are beneficial for both customers and the environment is crucial for advancing a clean energy future. In Milwaukee, recent utility rate cases and the role of the Wisconsin Environmental Justice and Infrastructure Initiative (EJII) highlight the importance of thoughtful rate design.


Utility Rate Cases in Milwaukee

The Public Service Commission (PSC) of Wisconsin recently reviewed and approved several rate increase requests from utilities such as Madison Gas & Electric (MGE), Xcel Energy, and Alliant Energy. These rate increases are intended to fund renewable energy projects and grid modernization efforts. However, the PSC scaled back the requested increases to address affordability concerns, reflecting a balance between necessary investments and customer financial burdens.


For instance, MGE's approved rate increase was reduced from a requested 7.2% to 5.8% over two years, translating to a modest increase in monthly bills for residential customers. Similarly, Alliant Energy's rate increase was cut from 13.8% to 8.4%, and Xcel Energy's increase was significantly reduced from 4.8% to 0.1%[5]. These decisions underscore the PSC's commitment to ensuring that rate hikes are justified and manageable for customers.


Role of EJII in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Environmental Justice and Infrastructure Initiative (EJII) plays a pivotal role in advocating for equitable and sustainable energy practices. EJII provides grants and resources to grassroots environmental organizations, aiming to increase community awareness and participation in environmental justice issues. This initiative focuses on ensuring that communities, especially those disproportionately affected by environmental and economic inequities, have access to the resources and support needed to foster transformative environmental impact.

Principles for Fair and Sustainable Rate Design

To design electricity rates that are fair and promote a clean energy future, several guiding principles should be considered:

1. **User-Friendly Rates**: Rates should empower customers to manage their electricity use effectively, enabling cost savings and encouraging energy conservation.
2. **Reflect Carbon Costs**: Rates should account for the environmental and health costs of carbon pollution, promoting cleaner energy choices.
3. **Incentivize Clean Energy**: Rate structures should incentivize the adoption of clean energy technologies, such as solar panels and electric vehicles.
4. **Support Clean Energy Projects**: Rates should support investments in clean energy projects and customer-owned systems, ensuring fair compensation for contributions like rooftop solar energy.
5. **Affordable Access**: Rates should safeguard affordable electricity access for low-income customers, preventing energy poverty.


Pricing Design Recommendations

- **Minimize Fixed Fees**: Focus on per-kilowatt-hour charges to encourage energy conservation.
- **Time-of-Use Rates**: Implement rates that favor off-peak clean energy consumption, reducing strain on the grid and promoting renewable energy use.
- **Fair Compensation**: Ensure that customers who generate their own electricity, such as through rooftop solar, receive fair compensation for their contributions to the grid.

By adhering to these principles, utilities can design rates that not only meet financial and operational needs but also advance environmental goals and support customer empowerment. This approach aligns with the broader vision of a sustainable and equitable energy future for Milwaukee and beyond.

WEC Energy Group, Inc. (WEC) CEO Scott Lauber on Q1 2022 Results - Earnings Call Transcript


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WE. energies is Constantly taking advantage of being able to raise their prices. Totally unfair!

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i believe we already pay a inner city tax that causes our utilities to be higher. I also think that needs to be addressed.

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I'm not for an increase in my utilities bills

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We Energy do a lot of red lining raising their pricing in different areas in the city of Milwaukee.. I have a lot of use.

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I believe with the increase cost. It’s going to cause a lot of families to struggle with paying their bills in a greater way. The problem is must families in Lindsay Heights already are struggling so why cause families to drown with increasing the utility rates.

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Our community is already struggling to make ends meet due to low wages from jobs. And I believe also as Covid continues to rises again I'm afraid we might fall back in a pandemic crisis.

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We energy have been taken advantage of Milwaukee and surrounding missipalities it is for many years one of the main reasons they are our only utility resources that's available ,and that creates a enormous monopoly

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The cost of utilities in any given area, if ever increased, should only be done so based on the aggregate cost of utilities usage, and offesr by higher usage area (downtown, for instance)

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We have very low income already and the bills are sky high😥

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Increased utility rates would create a hardship for the low-income customers we serve at the Social Development Commission and throughout Milwaukee County.

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