Get Engaged: Energy Matters!
On December 23rd, 2014, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission issued its final order on the 2015-2016 We Energies rate case, largely granting the utility's requests. The Commission voted 2-1 (Chairman Phil Montgomery and Commissioner Ellen Nowak voting in favor) to approve the overall rate increase of 1.8% on average for residential customers, however bills will rise more for customers who use less energy. The approval includes a larger fixed charge on residential monthly electric bills, and the utility will pay less for the power that customers generate with solar panels.
Specifically, the order includes:
- 75% Increase in the Fixed Charge. The fixed charge on all residential bills will increase from about $9 to $16 a month. A fixed cost is a set cost in a resident’s energy bill, regardless of how much, or how little, electricity a customer consumes. The variable rate on a customer’s energy bill is the amount paid per kilowatt hour (kwh) for energy consumed. The current rate is $0.139/kwh, which will be reduced one-half cent to $0.1349/kwh.
- Solar Surcharge Added. All customers that have invested in a renewable energy system on their own property will be required to pay We Energies $3.80 per kW per month (based on the size of the system). For example, a homeowner who installed a 4 kW solar system (average system size in We Energies’’ territory) will be required to pay $182 annually to We Energies for owning solar. (Existing solar owners, see grandfathering note below).
- Reduced Value of Solar Production. We Energies will change how solar production is valued on a customer’s energy bill. A change in net metering of clean energy systems was approved, which will change from annual netting to monthly netting and will also reduce the price credited for excess generation from the current 14 cents/kwh to 3 cents/kwh
- 10 years Grandfathering of Existing Solar. Existing owners of solar systems will be grandfathered for a period of 10 years. The new solar surcharge and net metering changes will not apply to existing distributed generation owners until December 31, 2024.
- No Ban on Third-Party Ownership (Leasing) of Solar. The Public Service Commission denied We Energies’ request to ban any solar or wind project from interconnecting and net metering with the grid if it is not owned by the customer. The PSC noted this is a legislative issue that should not be dealt with in this rate case.
Questions? For questions on how this change will impact you, your future bills, or your potential for installing a solar system contact:
Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
WE ENERGIES RATE CASE IN THE NEWS:
- Solar companies, advocates go to court to stop We Energies solar fees- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel- January 23rd, 2015
- Regulators Agree to Increase Charges for We Energies Customers - MKE Journal Sentinel - Nov 14, 2014
- PSC Throws Out Questionable Petition - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - November 1, 2014
- Broad Coalition Opposes We Energies Rate Plan - BizTimes - October 27, 2014
- As Klappa Energizes Company, Rates Rankle Customers - Milwaukee Business Journal - Sept 11, 2014
- We Energies Rate Case Impacts on MMSD - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - September 7, 2014
- We Energies War on Its Solar Customers - Shepherd Express - August 27, 2014
- Wisconsin Utility Companies Take Aim Against Solar - Milwaukee Business Journal - July 27, 2014
- We Energies Drops Opposition to Groups Joining Rate Case - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - July 26, 2014
- Solar v. Utilities Battles Heating up in Wisconsin, Iowa - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - July 12, 2014
- We Energies Faces Opposition for Proposed Rates - Wisconsin State Journal - June 29, 2014
- Growing Number of Solar Panels a Concern for WI Utilities - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - June 28, 2014