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)

The Commission recently approved WPL’s settlement agreement/rate case using the framework of Act 136, the new settlement law. The settlement agreement would establish a two year rate freeze with the potential for flat rates past 2020. WPL is holding its rates flat through 2020 at the same time it is bringing online the 716 MW natural gas-fired West Riverside plant. It was approved by the Commission in a 3-0, verbal vote. Savings from the federal tax cut and reductions in operating costs are among the reasons the WPL said it could enact a freeze. The settlement agreement was a product of negotiations between WPL, WIEG and CUB. 

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

MGE rate case/settlement agreement would reduce electric rates in 2019 by 1.94% and freeze them at that level in 2020. The proposal reflects the continuing impact of the federal tax cut approved in late 2017 as well as declining fuel costs. The settlement resulted from negotiations with consumer groups, including WIEG.

WEPCO 2019 fuel rate case (6630-ER-100)

WEPCO’s fuel case would result in an average 1.25% increase or $36.3 million increase with a $0.00141 per kWh credit throughout 2019. The average increase for the large customer class is 1.76%. The 2019 fuel rate increase almost entirely driven by the increase in purchase power costs associated with the Point Beach Purchase Power Agreement (PPA). 

WPSC 2019 fuel rate case (6690-ER-100)

WPSC’s fuel case would result in an average 1.15% decrease or $12 million decrease with a $0.00109 per kWh credit throughout 2019. WPSC has forecasted lower prices for coal, natural gas, and purchased power.

NSPW 2019 fuel rate case (4220-ER-100)

NSPW’s fuel case would result in an average -0.4% or $2.6 million reduction from a $0.00039 per kWh credit throughout 2019. Low natural gas prices are the main factor in bringing down NSPW’s overall fuel costs. 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.