Protecting the bottom line with rate case interventions

WIEG’s efforts on behalf of large energy users has led to significant results: In 2017, Wisconsin’s investor-owned utilities requested a total increase of $64.9 million in electric and natural gas rates. WIEG intervened in these rate cases and helped the PSC turn the combined requests for rate increases to an overall rate increase of $4.3 million. That was a reduction of $60.6 million or 93% from the original requests. In the last six years, investor-owned utility rate hike requests have been reduced by two-thirds for a total of over $1 billion.

WPL Rate Case/Settlement Agreement (6680-UR-121)

WPL recently filed a settlement agreement/rate case last week with WIEG and CUB. The settlement agreement would establish a two year rate freeze, with the potential for flat rates past 2020.

MGE Rate Case/Settlement Agreement (3270-UR-122)

MGE recently filed a “Notice of Intent to Settle” and the PSC just opened an investigation for the new docket. MGE is planning to use the settlement process as outlined in Act 136, especially since the federal tax benefits can help offset any revenue requirement increases for 2019 and 2020.  Further, MGE has declining fuel costs that should offset most revenue requirement growth. Between the federal tax benefits and lower fuel costs, rates should decrease across all customer classes over the next two years.

WEC Settlement Agreement for WEPCO, WG and WPSC (05-UR-108 and 6690-UR-125)

The final written order for WEC Energy Group’s settlement agreement was approved and officially posted in early September 2017:

  • Two year “rate freeze” — no change in base rates for 2018 and 2019
  • WEPCO’s RTMP tariff and WPSC’s NLMP tariff have their sunsets removed/made permanent
  • A new real time tariff for WEPCO’s transmission level customers
  • Freeze the transmission and SSR escrows at the end of 2017 through 2019 with no return on WEC Energy Group’s new tax regulatory asset

NSPW two-year base rate case (4220-UR-123)

NSPW originally filed to increase electric rates by $24.7 million, or 3.6%. NSPW was granted a $9.4 million or 1.35% increase for 2018 and no increase for 2019. RTP-1 was assigned a 0% increase and the high load factor credit was increased from $0.013 per kWh to $0.015 per kWh. In Spring of 2018, no base rate case was filed, which was the first time in 13 years that NSPW has not requested a base rate case or rate case re-opener.

Other regulatory initiatives include:

WIEG successfully sought an incremental load Real Time Market Pricing (RTMP) tariff for We Energies’ customers. Following this win, WIEG successfully worked for the adoption of a similar tariff (New Load Market Pricing, or NLMP) for both WPSC and WPL customers. Together, these new tariffs help promote economic growth and development in Wisconsin, without shifting costs to any of the utility’s other customer groups. In just a few years, these efforts have resulted in savings of more than $60 million versus standard industrial tariffs.

WIEG also worked with WPSC and WPL to develop nominated load real time tariffs. WIEG negotiated changes to a WPSC tariff that is also called RTMP. Under the revised RTMP tariff, customers pay a $5.50 per MWh adder, but then pay day-ahead market prices.

A similar nominated load real time program was approved for WPL’s largest customers in the summer of 2017. The Day Ahead Market Pricing rider (DAMP) is now in place for qualified customers.

Click below to view recent developments regarding these innovative tariffs:

Recent legislative initiatives include:

Industrial RRCs & waste heat recovery/waste heat to power

Industrial customers can create and keep renewable resource credits (RRCs) in Wisconsin, including from waste heat recovery projects. WIEG was instrumental in passing two new laws to help keep energy-intensive operations competitive in Wisconsin (2013 Act 300 and 2017 Act 53). Applications are now available on the PSC’s website.