An industrial discount on electricity is not fair to other utility customers, according to a ratepayers group. The state Public Service Commission voted this week to allow Wisconsin Power & Light to offer rate discounts to large industrial customers. Charlie Higley with the Citizens Utility Board says that deal for industry means other ratepayers may end up paying more. “It’s just not fair,” says Higley.
Higley claims the PSC decision also sets a bad precedent, as other ratepayers may request preferential treatment in the future. Higley says the PSC’s mission is to establish rates which are fair and which don’t discriminate. “It’s not the job of the Public Service Commission to try to create new jobs for certain customers,” says Higley. “That’s why we have the laws we do. It’s to protect the regulators from having to make these kinds of decisions. They should have said no.”
Madison based WP&L wanted to offer the discount because a decline in industrial sales of power was a main reason the utility requested a rate increase which went into effect in January. WP&L is also expected to seek a rate increase which would take effect next year.
Bob Hague interview (6:20 MP3) AUDIO: Charlie Higley (6:20 MP3)