For immediate release
December 3, 2015
Tyler Huebner, Executive Director
RENEW Wisconsin Statement on Public Service Commission Approving $14 Monthly Fixed Charge for Xcel Energy
In today’s open meeting, the Public Service Commission approved a hike in monthly mandatory fixed charges for residential customers of Xcel Energy in Wisconsin, from $8 per month (today) to $14 per month starting next year, a 75% increase. The company had been seeking an $18 monthly charge.
“Although we are happy that Xcel Energy customers will not face the full $18 monthly charge, this is still a 75% increase in mandatory fixed charges that is exceptionally higher than what utilities in other states are being granted by state regulators,” said Tyler Huebner, Executive Director of RENEW Wisconsin. “Over 500 individuals and organizations made their voices heard opposing this change, and their efforts helped educate the Commissioners about the impacts this change will have on their lives.”
RENEW Wisconsin conducted analysis of fixed charge requests by similar utilities throughout the country in 2014 and 2015. Of 35 proposals identified:
– 14 were rejected entirely, including Xcel’s Minnesota operation which requested an increase from $8 to just $9.25 earlier in 2015
– 18 utilities were granted increases below $4.30, with an average hike of $2.13.
– Only 3 were granted higher increases, all in Wisconsin. Today’s decision adds a fourth.
“Rate designs with a high fixed charge punish those customers who can least afford to pay more for their electricity. They take away the ability to control one’s utility bills, and they make it harder for customers to save money through conservation measures and more efficient appliances. This is at bottom an issue of consumer fairness,” said Huebner.
For more analysis of this issue, please visit http://midwestenergynews.com/2015/12/04/wisconsin-regulators-approves-another-fixed-charge-increase/