- Madison Gas & Electric (MGE), a utility and Wisconsin solar leader, has asked state regulators for a new rate structure with more emphasis on a standard monthly charge and less on per-kilowatt-hour electricity costs.
- MGE’s initial proposal was more aggressive but, after an agreement with the Wisconsin Citizens Utility Board (CUB), it proposed a monthly charge increase for residential customers from the current $10.50 per month to $19 per month, and proposed lowering the per-kilowatt-hour costs from 14 cents to 13 cents in the winter and from 15 cents to 14 cents in the summer.
- MGE, which did solar installations in Madison as early as 2000, is also asking regulators to cut incentives for residential solar.
The initial proposed monthly charges were $22 in 2015, $48 in 2016, and $67 by 2017, and the proposed usage rate reductions went from 14 cents in the winter to 3 cents and from 15 cents in the summer to 4.5 cents by 2017. These changes suggest an intent to remove the value of rooftop solar, distributed generation, and energy efficiency upgrades for customers and explains why even the current proposal before the Wisconsin Public Service Commission drew a storm of protest from ratepayers and solar and energy efficiency advocates.
Renewables and energy efficiency advocates argue the MGE proposals are designed to “stop solar” and fail to recognize benefits like not needing to build more power plants. Wisconsin energy industry experts believe MGE’s proposals are founded on an unjustified concern with rates of solar and energy efficiency growth that could threaten its financial viability. The experts suggested MGE “get into the rooftop solar business.”
Wisconsin is 27th in U.S. installed solar capacity, with 17 megawatts, and gets 0.02% of its electricity from solar.