December 16, 2010

MADISON — Today the Public Service Commission reduced the rate hike for electricity sought by Wisconsin Public Service Corp.

In its request filed on April 1, 2010, WPS sought to increase electricity rates by $64.2 million or 6.9 percent. Today’s decision by the PSC reduced the rate request by about $56 million. Nevertheless, electricity rates for WPS customers will increase by about $8 million, or about 1 percent, starting on January 1, 2011.

WPS also sought to increase rates for the delivery of natural gas by $5.0 million, or 1.2 percent. The PSC reduced this request so that delivery rates will decrease by about $8 million, or about 2 percent.

The Citizens Utility Board participated in the proceeding to establish electricity rates for WPS customers. CUB and other parties urged the PSC to reduce return on equity, or profits, that WPS would be authorized to collect from ratepayers. WPS had requested an ROE of 11.25 percent. The PSC set the ROE at 10.3 percent. The reduction in authorized profits will save ratepayers $13.3 million from what WPS requested.

“We’re glad that the PSC was able to make reductions in the rate increase sought by WPS for 2011 rates,” said Charlie Higley, CUB executive director. “CUB argued that WPS’s shareholder profits should be reduced significantly to lower residential customer bills. Utility shareholders should never receive excessive profits, and that is never more true than during these difficult economic times.”

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The Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin is a member-supported, nonprofit organization that advocates for reliable and affordable utility service. CUB represents the interests of residential, farm, and small business customers of electric, natural gas, and telecommunication utilities before the Legislature, regulatory agencies, and the courts.