Protecting the bottom line with rate case interventions

WIEG’s efforts on behalf of large energy users has led to significant results. In the last ten years, investor-owned utility rate hike requests have been reduced by over $1 billion. In addition, WIEG has successfully advocated for new market-based industrial tariffs. In just a few years, these efforts have resulted in savings of more than $120 million versus standard industrial tariffs.

WEPCO 2023-2024 base rate case (05-UR-110)

WEPCO proposed a rate increase of $260.5 million (8.4%) for its retail electric customers, and a rate increase of $50.7 million (10.7%) for its natural gas customers (WE-GO). WG proposed a rate increase of $60.1 million (8.3%) for its natural gas customers. WEPCO’s 2023 Fuel Cost Plan assumes average costs of $38.92/MWh. Rate pressure is building from capital expenditures in new wind, solar, and battery storage and loss of some wholesale business contracts with other utilities. There is over $700 million remaining on South Oak Creek, a 1,135 MW plant scheduled to be retired in 2023 and 2024. WEPCO, WE-GO and WG are seeking a limited rate re-opener for 2024 to address additional revenue requirements associated with projects that are expected to be placed into service in 2023 and 2024.

WPSC 2023-2024 base rate case (6690-UR-127)

WPSC filed a base rate case application for 2023 (6690-UR-127). WPSC proposed a rate increase of $73.9 million (6.2%) for its retail electric customers, and a rate increase of $30.3 million (8.3%) for its natural gas customers. WPSC’s 2023 Fuel Cost Plan assumes average costs of $25.52/MWh. Rate pressure is building from capital expenditures in new wind, solar, and battery storage and loss of some wholesale business contracts with other utilities. There is over $200 million remaining on WPSC’s share of Columbia Energy Center, a power plant scheduled to be retired in 2023 and 2024. WPSC owns 311 MW for a minority stake in Columbia. WPSC seeking a limited rate re-opener for 2024 to address additional revenue requirements associated with generation projects that are expected to be placed into service in 2023 and 2024.

MGE 2023 rate case limited reopener (3270-UR-124)

MGE recently filed for a $19 million or 4.4% electric limited 2023 rate case reopener. MGE’s 2023 Fuel Cost Plan assumed average fuel costs of $21.27/MWh. Most of the requested increase is related to the addition of new generation assets, including the Badger Hollow II Solar Farm, Paris Solar Farm, Red Barn Wind Energy Center, and West Riverside Energy Center.

WPL Fuel Cost Plan reconciliation (6680-FR-2021)

WPL’s actual fuel costs per MWh in 2021 were $25.15, or $4.40 (+21.2%) higher than the approved monitored fuel costs of $20.75 per MWh. WPL is proposing to recover a total under-collection of $36.7 million through an incremental surcharge on retail electric rates in 2023. The surcharge is estimated to be $0.003396/kWh or about 4% for a large customer. The 2023 Fuel Cost Plan is expected to be filed in the next couple months.

NSPW Fuel Cost Plan reconciliation (4220-FR-2021)

NSPW’s actual fuel costs per MWh in 2021 were $24.57, or $4.60 (+23%) higher than the approved monitored fuel costs of $19.97 per MWh. NSPW is proposing to recover a total under-collection of $29.4 million through an incremental surcharge on retail electric rates over either six months or twelve months.

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. 

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.

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 $120 million versus standard industrial tariffs.

Recent legislative initiatives include:

Coalition efforts to block passage of monopoly construction legislation

WIEG helped build a coalition to defeat this anti-competition, anti-consumer legislation in the 2021-2022 session. Although the bills failed to advance out of committee, we need to keep this coalition together as utilities may try to revive the bill in 2023.

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.