CUB: CUB Slams We Energies for $144 Million Dollar Electric Rate Increase Proposal

Charlie Higley, Executive Director

(608) 251-3322

MADISON – The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) blasted We Energies today for not doing more to reduce energy costs for ratepayers.

We Energies today requested permission from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) to increase electric rates by $144 million. On June 1st the company requested authority to increase gas rates by $81 million. We Energies has already received approval in 2005 to increase electric rates by $115 million due to increases in the cost of fuel used to generate electricity. They also received an additional $59 million for electric costs in 2005 associated with its multi-billion dollar Power the Future plan.

“This utility just doesn’t understand how hard it’s making it for families and businesses to pay their energy bills,” said Charlie Higley, CUB executive director. “Despite We Energies’ claim that it’s limiting its request for cost recovery, we’re still being hit with Chicago style rates at a time when families are struggling to make ends meet,” continued Higley.

CUB will fight this rate request in proceedings before the PSC. “We Energies proposal to retain earnings within a common equity range of 11.7% to 12.7% in exchange for ‘freezing’ certain operating costs until 2008 appears to be a cleverly designed scheme for the Company to retain synergy savings created by its merger with Wisconsin Gas Company. We’ll be fighting to reduce customers’ energy costs by making sure that all merger savings are passed onto ratepayers,” stated Higley.

CUB will also challenge any attempt by We Energies to make customers pay for the on going outage at the Point Beach nuclear plant by requesting another increase in fuel costs. CUB will investigate whether the outage was caused by mismanagement, in which case utility shareholders should pay for replacement power costs that the Company has estimated may be as high as $30 million. The nuclear plant was supposed to return to service on May 30th, but remains shut down because of problems encountered while undergoing major maintenance. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission ranks Point Beach as having one of the worst operating records of the 104 nuclear plants operating in the U.S.



The Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin is a member-supported nonprofit organization that advocates for reliable and affordable utility service and that represents the interests of residential, farm, and small business customers of electric, natural gas, and telecommunication utilities before regulatory agencies, the legislature, and the courts.