Senior advocates are pushing back, on proposed electricity rate hikes. Helen Marks Dicks, state issues advocacy director for AARP Wisconsin said seniors, as well as utility customers in many parts of the state, could lose control of their energy bills, if a request from We Energies, Wisconsin Public Service and Madison Gas & Electric for an increase in fixed customer charges gains approval from the state Public Service Commission.
“The electrical utilities are trying to significantly up the charges on what they call the fixed rate. That’s how much money you pay just to get the electricity to come into the house. That’s before you turn on the lights,” Marks Dicks explained.
Marks Dicks said WPS is requesting the largest increase in fixed rate fees, going from $10.50 a month to around $25, and We Energies wants to boost them from $9.50 to $16. “We think this is bad for seniors, we think this is bad for low-income people. We thinks it’s a step in the wrong direction,” Marks Dicks said, adding that WPS charged a fixed rate of $5.70 just two years ago.
The Public Service Commission held a hearing in Madison this week for the WPS request, and has additional hearings scheduled in Madison and Milwaukee next month, on the MG&E and We Energies requests.