WPS Rate Hike for 2025 and 2026

  • May 30, 2024
870 450 Tom Content

WISCONSIN PUBLIC SERVICE RATE CASE HIGHLIGHTS

In April and May 2024, Wisconsin Public Service Corp. (WPS) filed an application to change electric rates in 2025 and 2026.

WPS is seeking total increases of $220 million over the next two years (2025-26) for its electric and natural gas utilities. This case comes after WPS customers already saw a double-digit hike from 2023 and 2024. Find out more about that case 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 6690-UR-128, WPS is requesting:

Electricity bills
Requested electricity hike for 2025: $106.6 million, or 8.7%
Requested electricity hike for 2026: $65.8 million, or 4.9% on top of the requested 2025 increase
Total requested increase for 2025-26: $172.4 million, 14% above current prices

Residential impact for 465,000 customers in northeastern and north central Wisconsin: 20%, phased in over two years. 14.3% increase in 2025, 5.2% increase in 2026

For a typical customer using 660 kWh per month: $105 bill today would rise to $120.50 in 2025, and more than $6 a month in 2026, for a total bill of $127; total increase = $22/month

Small business impact: nearly 15% overall increase over two years
9% increase for 2025, 5.2% increase for 2026

Natural Gas bills

WPS natural gas increase for 2025: $26.8 million, or 6.8%

WPS natural gas increase for 2026: $16.1 million, or 3.7%

Total increase for natural gas: $42.9 million, nearly 11%

Impact on 344,000 residential customers in northeastern and central Wisconsin: 

$3 to $4 a month in 2025, another $1.50 t0 $2 in 2026

Total increase: $4.50 to $6 per month by 2026

SPOTLIGHT ON DEAD COAL PLANTS

• WPS seeks to keep earning nearly 10% profit long after the Columbia Energy Center coal plant that it co-owns shuts down. The first part of that plant is slated to shut down by 2026.
• The PSC indicated last year it wanted utilities to come up with more alternatives to save customers money after coal plants retire.
• WPS is already building plenty of new projects as part of the energy transition, with customers footing the bill. As if that is not enough, WPS 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, WPS wants to have its cake and eat it too.

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, battery storage and natural gas plants.
Other Drivers: WPS is requesting more funds to manage vegetation, plus higher inflation costs and transmission costs.

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 WPS.

• 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 WPS could end up joining We Energies in paying among the highest rates in Wisconsin, and the Midwest.
• Customers’ bills have doubled over the past 20 years. Meanwhile, income and wealth disparities between the wealthiest Wisconsinites and everyone else continue to grow.
• Shareholders of WPS’ 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 Green Bay
• 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 in person or online.
• Submit a written comment once the public comment period opens.