CUB: WPS Should Send Ratepayers Checks Not Bills

More Information:
Charlie Higley, (608) 251-3322 ext. 14, cellphone (608) 843-6996

MADISON – The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) urges the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) to order Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPS) to immediately return to ratepayers $243 million, and to reject the request by WPS to raise electricity and gas rates by $100 million.

WPS today filed a request with the PSC asking to increase 2006 electric rates by nearly $90 million, an 11.4 percent increase, and to increase gas rates by $10 million, a two percent increase.

Over CUB’s objections, the PSC recently approved the sale of the Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant, which is co-owned by WPS and Wisconsin Power & Light Company. WPS has said that it will return to ratepayers about $130 million in proceeds from the plant sale plus $113 million in “decommissioning funds,” or money set aside to cover the costs of dismantling the plant.

CUB is considering legal options to stop the sale of the Kewaunee plant. However, if the sale occurs, then WPS should immediately return to ratepayers the $243 million in sale proceeds and decommissioning funds. The immediate return of this money to ratepayers would eliminate the need for the $90 million electricity rate hike and would give customers $153 million in rebate checks.

“WPS is holding hostage $243 million owed to ratepayers while demanding a $90 million increase in electricity rates,” said Charlie Higley, executive director. “WPS should be ordered by the PSC to immediately refund all the proceeds from the sale of the Kewaunee plant if the sale closes.”