- Rate cases brought to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission by We Energies, Madison Gas & Electric and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) Corporation seek to shift the emphasis of Wisconsin ratepayers’ bills from per-kilowatt-hour charges to monthly charges.
- If approved, the shift could impede the growth of distributed energy resources (DERs) in the utilities' service territories and throughout the upper Midwest by reversing the incentive to reduce energy use, distributed generation advocates say.
- For example, the rate changes would reduce a We Energies solar-owning customer’s return by 28% and create uncertainty that would further shrink the potential market.
Under the rate case proposal, We Energies would impose a fixed monthly charge for new and existing DER-owners starting in 2016 of $3.79 per kilowatt for solar and wind and $8.60 per kilowatt for baseload resources like biogas, and cut the per kilowatt-hour bioenergy remuneration from $0.092 to $0.042. We Energies would also add a monthly charge to net metered owners of DERs and block grid interconnection for systems funded by third party owners.
Under its proposal, WPS would raise fixed costs from $10 per month to $25 for residential customers and to $35 for business customers but lower the per-kilowatt-hour charges from $0.113 to $0.101.
Both We Energies and WPS argue they must prevents costs for the grid from being shifted away from DER owners to non-owners, while DER advocates argue distributed generation adds more value than cost to the grid. DER adoption in Wisconsin is currently no more than 3 megawatts to 8 megawatts in each of the three utilities’ territories.
Pending approval by federal and state regulators of the $9.1 billion acquisition by Wisconsin Energy, We Energies’ parent company, of Integrys could impact how hard We Energies pushes at the PSC.