WPS Files for 9.2 Percent Rate Hike

Wisconsin Public Service applied to the Public Service Commission to raise electric rates 9.2 percent.

WPS spokesperson Kerry Spees said the increase is based on economic forecasts from late 2011 and is necessary to keep up with rising costs for energy and infrastructure maintenance.

“We have 22,000 miles of electric lines and 8,000 miles of natural gas lines,” Spees said. “There are very high fixed costs associated with maintaining those, and those costs are going up.”

WPS has also applied for a 3.7 percent increase in natural gas rates. The application will take many months to process. Spees said recent increase in economic optimism could lead to a lower rate increase. The investor-owned utility, a subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group, said its electric rates have risen by less than 0.4 percent per year over the last four years.

The rates would result in a monthly increase of about $7 for the average residential electric customers.