Saturday, December 11, 2010

Higher Utility Bills coming for Wisconsinites, to pay for CEO bonuses. Any problem with that?

We’ll see how our new, all Republican legislature, comes to our rescue over “job killing” energy rate hikes to pay for CEO bonuses. Check out this amazing PSC ruling:

WSJ: The state Public Service Commission turned down a proposal on Thursday to include executive bonuses in determining if a Wisconsin utility company's profits are too high.

The idea has always been this:

If fuel costs run a lot higher than a utility anticipated, it can ask the PSC to order consumers to pick up part of the tab, through a temporary surcharge. But if the utility is already earning more profits than the PSC authorized, it cannot collect as much for the fuel price disparity.

That summary is only part of the story, since the utilities recently got a rate increase due to lost business from factory closings and consumer energy savings. Yes, we even pay more now for saving energy, which was supposed to lower our bills.

The PSC has always been considered an arm of the utility companies, but this is ridiculous.

The Citizens Utility Board, Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group, Wisconsin Paper Council and Wausau Paper had asked regulators not to let utilities count executive bonuses against their profits. The three-member PSC did not go along, but commissioner Lauren Azar made it clear that she disagrees.

In a letter to state lawmakers in August, Azar said the five top executives of four Wisconsin utilities received more than $44 million in bonuses in 2009.

"These bonuses were given in hard economic times when some Wisconsin citizens are setting their thermostats at 55 degrees because they cannot pay their utility bills," Azar wrote.

Job killing rate hikes to pad the pockets of utility executives in the form of bonuses?

Now that’s business friendly!!!

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