We Energies Rate Hike for 2025 and 2026

  • May 30, 2024
870 450 Tom Content

WE ENERGIES RATE CASE HIGHLIGHTS

In April and May 2024, We Energies filed an application to change electric rates in 2025 and 2026.

We Energies is seeking total increases of $605 million over the next two years (2025-26) for its electric and natural gas utilities. This case comes after We Energies customers already saw a double-digit hike during 2023 and 2024. Find out more about that case here. We Energies also has proposed more than $2 billion in natural gas power plants and related projects. Find out more about that here.
CUB will be actively involved in the case, searching for savings and opportunities to pare back the size of the increase. Here are some key facts about the utility’s proposal in this case:

In PSC case 5-UR-111, We Energies is requesting:

Electricity bills
Requested electricity hike for 2025: $240.7 million, or 6.9%
Requested electricity hike for 2026: $177.9 million, 4.8% on top of the requested 2025 increase
Total requested increase for 2025-26: $418.8 million, 12% above current prices

Residential impact: 18.5%, phased in over two years. 
For a typical customer using 660 kWh per month: $128 bill today would rise to $12 increase for 2025, and another $12 for 2026; total = $24/month

Small business impact: 15% overall increase over two years
6.4% increase for 2024, 8% increase for 2026

Natural Gas bills

Wisconsin Electric Gas Operations (serving southeastern Wisconsin)
$57.5 million in 2025, $31 million in 2026. Total increase: $88.5 million.

Wisconsin Gas: $67.7 million in 2025, $30.6 million in 2026 (total $98.3 million).
Total increase for We Energies over two years: $186.8 million

SPOTLIGHT ON DEAD COAL PLANTS

• We Energies seeks to keep earning more than $300 million in profit long after the older Oak Creek coal plant shuts down. The first part of that plant is shutting down by June 2024.
• The PSC indicated last year it wanted the utility to come up with more alternatives to save customers money.
• We Energies is already building plenty of new projects as part of the energy transition, with customers footing the bill. As if that is not enough, We Energies now wants customers to also continue to pay for coal plants that have been retired and aren’t providing energy to customers. In other words, We Energies wants to have its cake and eat it too.
• Saddling customers who are already paying among the highest prices in the Midwest with hundreds of millions of dollars of additional costs is not right.

OTHER ISSUES IN THE CASE
New Solar, Natural Gas, Battery plants: Roughly half of the electric hike is linked to new generation projects such as solar and natural gas plants.
LNG (liquified natural gas) projects are driving the requested natural gas increases.
Other Drivers: We Energies is requesting more funds to manage vegetation and the effects of storms and also argues that it needs more funding for its Low Income Forgiveness Tool (LIFT), a program aimed at keeping low-income customers from falling behind on their bills and being shut off.
Affordability: CUB is concerned about the magnitude of the 2025-26 increase, particularly for customers struggling to make ends meet.

SPOTLIGHT ON PROFITS

• CUB’s advocacy helped convince the PSC to reduce profits for 2023 and 2024, bringing the utility’s return on equity down to 9.8% from 10% for We Energies and 10.2% for Wisconsin Gas.

• In the new proposal, the utility wants to reverse those gains and hike its return on equity back to 10%.

• Wisconsin investor-owned utilities already get the fifth highest profit rates in the country, forcing customers to shoulder energy bills that are too high.

RESTORING BALANCE BETWEEN SHAREHOLDERS AND CUSTOMERS

• CUB is concerned that utility customers of We Energies are paying among the highest rates in Wisconsin, and the Midwest.
• Customers’ bills have more than doubled over the past 20 years, at a rate faster than the inflation rate. Meanwhile, income and wealth disparities between the wealthiest Wisconsinites and everyone else continue to grow..
• Shareholders of We Energies’ parent company, WEC Energy Group, have done exceedingly well during that time, with gains for WEC doubling the returns of a typical utility.

EXPECTED TIMELINE

• Ongoing: PSC Audit, Analysis
• August-September: CUB experts, PSC staff weigh in
• September or October: Public Hearing Expected to be held in Milwaukee
• November: PSC Open Meeting to decide the case
• December: PSC Decision to be issued

FIND OUT MORE
• See the filings in the case at the PSC here.

HAVE YOUR SAY
• Attend a public hearing or participate by Zoom.
• Submit a written comment once the public comment period opens.

Electric bills increase: $86 million (2.5%) 

  • Projected increase for residential customers – 3.1%, or $3.87 per month for a typical residential customer using 660 kWh of electriciy per month
    Natural gas increase:
  • $22.2 million, or 2.9% for Wisconsin Gas customers
  • $23.9 million, or 4.5% for Wisconsin Electric Gas customers

KEY ISSUES IN THIS CASE

  • Dead Coal Profits: The utility seeks to keep earning profit long after the older Oak Creek coal plant shuts down in The PSC will review alternatives to save customers money.
  • New Solar, LNG plants: Roughly half of the electric hike is linked to new generation projects such as solar and natural gas plants. LNG projects are driving the natural gas increase.
  • Point Beach: The costly power purchase agreement electricity generated by the Point Beach nuclear plant is pushing up fuel costs in this case.

AFFORDABILITY

  • We Energies’ Low Income Forgiveness Tool, launched in 2021, will be reviewed and may be modified. The PSC is reviewing the utility’s policies, including a $600 reconnection down payment.
  • We Energies, CUB, Walnut Way and others are collaborating to develop other ideas, such as a percent of income credit, to help customers who are struggling to make ends meet.

UPDATE ON PROFITS

  • WEC’s Wisconsin utilities reported $758 million in profit in 2022. The WPS profit rate won’t be changed this year because that was decided in 2022.
  • The PSC reduced We Energies’ profit rate to 9.8%, still far too high.
  • CUB advocated for a bolder reduction, to 9%, for We Energies.
  • Customers across the country are overpaying by billions from profit rates that have remained far too high for far too long.

TIMELINE

  • Ongoing: PSC Audit, Analysis
  • September: CUB experts, PSC staff weigh in
  • Oct. 9: Public Hearing, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. in Milwaukee
  • Nov/Dec: PSC Decision

FIND OUT MORE

  • See the filings in the case at the PSC here.

HAVE YOUR SAY

  •  Attend the public hearing in at 2 p.m. or 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 9 at Clinton Rose Senior Center, 3045 N. Martin Luther King Drive, Milwaukee, or participate by Zoom, either at https://us02web.zoom.us/my/pschearings, or by phone at 312-626-6799 using Meeting ID 809 513 2930.
  • Submit a written comment to the PSC here. The public comment deadline is Monday, Oct. 16.