We Energies seeks rate plan to fund clean energy investments, grid hardening

Published on May 02, 2022 by Chris Galford

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We Energies proposed a new rate plan to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) last week, potentially raising customers’ rates for electricity, natural gas and steam next year to pay for a large-scale clean energy transition and grid resiliency efforts.

“We have set some of the most aggressive goals in our industry for reducing carbon and methane emissions. This rate plan will help us reach those goals and provide customers with the affordable, reliable and clean energy they depend on,” said Scott Lauber, president of We Energies, which serves more than 1.1 million electric customers and 1.1 million natural gas customers in Wisconsin.

In terms of resiliency, the plan would provide for the undergrounding of 800 miles of power lines over the next decade. New capital investments would also be deployed for solar, wind and battery storage projects. On a more general business side, the plan includes some alterations to how We Energies would work with other utilities.

While average bills would remain below the national average and in-line with the Midwest average, according to We Energies, the average residential electric bill would increase about $5-6 per month in 2023 if the plan were passed as proposed. Natural gas customers would see a smaller increase to bills, while the steam customers of downtown Milwaukee would see bills remain relatively flat.

At the same time, however, the company would be able to pass on millions of dollars in savings from the closure of older, less-efficient fossil fuel plants.

The filing is subject to updates in late May, when We Energies said it would have more specific information on its impact to each customer group. A ruling from the PSCW will likely take place later this year, with new rates to follow in January 2023.