Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We Energies to raise rates due to customer energy savings and Shuttered Manufacturing Plants.

Remember when WP&L wanted to raise rates because people were saving too much energy and corporate customers were going out of business. The story continues.

The issue: Energy providers want to increase rates, now that profits are down due to the Great Recession, lost profits from electricity and gas, the loss of manufacturing customers and consumer energy savings.
I'm not kidding. Did you think you could reduce your energy bills, like the people in the story below?

Journal Sentinel Online;

"We Energies customers weighed in on the utility's proposed rate increase on Tuesday, raising concerns about the utility's proposal to recoup revenue lost to sales declines caused by the recession.

Michael Zyniecki of Milwaukee said he's upset that the company is seeking higher rates at a time when it's pushing customers to conserve energy by buying energy-saving light bulbs and insulating their homes. "We do this, we turn down our thermostats in the wintertime, turn it up in the summer, and what do they want now? They're not making enough money because people are reducing their energy usage," Zyniecki said. "It sounds a little self-defeating, doesn't it? Do they need to pad their pockets a little more? I don't think so. Not on my dime."

Sandra Larson of Elm Grove said "But to include an increase for lost revenue and pension plans while We Energies customers are conserving could be considered just plain greed," she said. "We Energies should get back to serving their customers and not penalizing them."

Other issues of concern to customers were the compensation paid to top We Energies officers, as well as the difficulty of paying more at a time when salaries, retirement funds and jobs are being cut.

"The one thing that I had looked forward to this year was that energy costs were going to be down. And now they want to raise our rates," said Jason Clark of Milwaukee. I can't take it anymore."

We Energies employee Tim Brown said higher rates will help keep service levels high.

The Public Service Commission's staff reduced the scope of the potential price increase by about one-third. We Energies' rates would rise by 4.9%, or $125.2 million from where they are today, down from an increase of 7.4% or $189 million, submitted by the utility.

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