PSC sides with CUB: No blank checks for utilities

  • June 27, 2024
870 450 Tom Content


Breaking Regulatory News from CUB:

Customers of We Energies (aka Wisconsin Electric Power Company, or WEPCO) scored a big win this morning when the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin sided with CUB’s comments and unanimously rejected the utility’s brazen requests for more customer money in 2024.

In response to WEPCO’s special request for an additional $25 million from customers to pay for tree trimming and other forestry management expenses in 2023, the Commission noted that the need for forestry work to keep up with climate and pest threats is not new and that it remained open to WEPCO’s future rate requests that include a larger budget of customer dollars for forestry.

The Commission reiterated that denying WEPCO this extra customer contribution does not change WEPCO’s ability and duty to do the necessary forestry work to maintain a reliable system this year.

The Commission noted that requests for additional spending on tree trimming are being considered as part of the big rate case that We Energies has filed this year. That case would result in an 18% increase for We Energies customers over the next two years.

WEPCO had also sought a special request for a blank check from customers for storm damage that might occur in the remainder of 2023.The Commission denied this, noting how unusual it would be to promise WEPCO such treatment of unknown future costs.

CUB supports utilities’ efforts to do the work necessary to maintain safe, reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible utility services for Wisconsin’s customers, but we will speak up when an investor-owned regulated monopoly utility tries to saddle customers with unfair costs, especially when the utility hasn’t shown that it undertakes thoughtful and cost-effective long-term planning.

This is the kind of small but mighty work that CUB has been able to undertake since growing from a staff of three to five in recent years, but going toe to toe with billion-dollar utility companies takes people power. Given what lies ahead, it probably takes more resources than we have here at CUB. Help CUB expand its regulatory team from one attorney to two by donating here.