Friday, December 4, 2015

Under Walker, fixed rate energy increases skyrocket burning cheap coal. So why is he suing the EPA?

Electric rates are going up again, even as the state continues to use "cheap" fossil fuels like coal. You won't hear Scott Walker complain about the price hike or the strain that this will have on fixed income seniors or customers thinking about installing solar panels. 

Your best friend Coal.
All of this flies in the face of the Republican governors lawsuit against the EPA; the governors claim electric bills will actually be going up if we move away from cheap coal. Really?

Then why did this just happen:
Major Rate Increase For Xcel Energy Customers Gets State Approval: Fixed Rates Will Go Up 75 Percent On Electric Bills In Western Wisconsin ... the utility's customers in western Wisconsin will begin paying $14 per month in fixed charges, instead of the $8 per month ...  
But this is a good rate increase because we're burning coal yet. 

And get ready to hear this ridiculous reason for the rate increases using cheap coal, over and over. Just wondering, why hasn’t this been an issue before? Just saying...
Don Reck, regional vice president of rates and regulatory affairs for Xcel, said the increased fixed charge will better reflect the actual costs to provide energy, such as materials and maintenance. "The cost of poles and wires and meters to provide electric service don't vary based on the amount of usage that a customer has," Reck said.
How much more would Obama's new EPA standards raise rates: I recently wrote this: "In fact, Walker whined that electric bills could jump as much as 29% if the EPA rules go into affect. Yet the PSC raised the fixed rate charge for electricity by more the 80% using good old dirty coal.

What just happened in Western Wisconsin is on top of this rate increase a few weeks ago:
UPDATE- Saturday: The rate increase was reduced, and that's a good thing.
Rates for customers of a Green Bay electric utility are on track to drop in 2016, but the customer fixed charge will rise by $2 a month ... Customers of Wisconsin Public Service Corp. will pay a fixed charge of $21 a month next year, after the state Public Service Commission trimmed the utility's request to raise the fixed charge to $25. The utility had raised the fixed charge by more than 80% in January, to $19 a month from $10.40 a month.


  1. This is so dumb. The PSC exists solely to boost utility company stock prices. Ever hear of an electric company going out of business? Me neither.

    And for all the rhetoric about WI needing to keep burning coal because it's cheap... we actually have the highest residential rates (2nd highest overall) in the Midwest. There is fat to be trimmed.

    If the PSC actually followed some semblance of a public interest mandate, we'd want to keep the fixed charge as low as possible and the $/kWh steady or increasing a tiny bit each yr. Raising the fixed charge and lowering the usage rate discourages investment in renewables, conservation, and efficiency. It's a recipe for maximizing electricity sales/revenue.

  2. True, we pay more here than in most states, so Walker is wrong again..

    The fact we're one of the few states getting away with raising the fixed rate to discourage green energy should tell voters something. Sadly, it doesn't look like it so far.

  3. And the higher fixed fee also means that everyday consumers won't get as much of a price break from this warmer-than-normal December than they usually would. So while the energy companies benefit from higher fixed fees and lower gas prices to operate their plants, the everyday Wisconsinite is still paying more than they otherwise would.

    Money going straight from the average person to corporates and other connected individuals. Just the way WisGOP and ALEC like it.