We Energies plans to ask state officials to approve seven-percent rate hikes over the next two years. Citizens Utility Board executive director Charlie Higley says that's just the latest in a long list of price increases. The group estimates We Energies has raised its rates by at least 50-percent since 1997.
Higley says so many hikes are making it difficult for consumers to keep up, because rates are climbing faster than inflation. Higley says incomes aren't rising at the same level and many households are having trouble making ends meet.
The hike is lower than what We Energies had been planning to ask for. Higley says the recent sale of the Point Beach nuclear power plant helped prevent up to a 28-percent rate hike that the company had been considering. However, Higley says that sale will only temporarily protect consumers from increased utility costs.