We Energies approached the Public Service Commission (PSC) for approval of a residential rate increase, initially of 6%, then 8%, and most recently 13%. In the public hearing and public comment process, hundreds of concerned residents shared opposition to this rate increase.
By the numbers:
- More than 1,180 public comments were filed in this docket. Of those comments, 1,133 opposed the rate increase and/or the proposed settlement. Only 12 comments were in support of the rate increase and proposed settlement.
- Wisconsin Health Professionals for Climate Action submitted 7 member comments, Citizen Action of Wisconsin submitted 332 member comments, and Sierra Club - Wisconsin Chapter submitted 512 member comments, all in opposition to the rate increase.
- 70 members of the public testified between the virtual and in person public hearings, with 60 testifying in opposition to the rate increase and/or the proposed settlement. Pictures from the in person public hearing can be used, with credit given to Karney Hatch with Clean Wisconsin.
- Dozens gathered outside We Energies headquarters calling on We Energies to address the concerns of local residents. Pictures from the hearing can be used, with credit given to Tim Karaskiewicz.
Many public comments shared concerns about the socioeconomic impact of the rate increase and how higher rates will make many We Energies customers make extremely difficult decisions like paying the electric bill or paying for housing, food, or childcare. Comments pointed out that this rate increase will disproportionately negatively affect People of Color in Milwaukee.
Additionally, many public comments shared frustration that We Energies claimed that the increase was to build more clean energy, yet the utility has proposed several new fossil gas projects and has plans to continue to run dirty coal plants like the Oak Creek/Elm Road coal plants.
We Energies claimed that the residential rate increase for electricity and gas is because they are building more clean energy, yet the utility has simultaneously upheld its plans to keep expensive coal plants running and to invest in new fossil gas infrastructure. While all We Energies customers will have to pay these new increases, Black, Hispanic, and Latinx neighborhoods will be disproportionately hurt by these costs.
The Public Service Commission's meeting about their decision on the We Energies rate case is scheduled for this week Thursday, December 1 at 10:30 am. You can watch the meeting on the PSC's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQB--fmEP5PPKmVZ5hj1u_Q or by clicking "Live Broadcast" at http://psc.wi.gov/.