Submit your comments online! Visit PSC's website and file your testimony before October 7th.
Earlier this year, MG&E announced major changes to Madison's utility billing structure. This proposal would result in massive increases in the energy bills of average homeowners and renters while providing huge breaks to big consumers and industries. These changes, currently being considered by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC), would raise fixed administrative costs on consumer's energy bills in order to finance decreases in variable rate costs (charges based on the amount of energy consumed). For more information, see our fact sheet below.
How You Can Get Involved
Provide Written Testimony to PSC
Right now, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission is taking online public comments from consumers. In order to demonstrate broad public opposition to these radical changes, the Commission needs to hear from as many people as possible. To submit your comments, visit the Public Service Commission's Website and file your testimony.
Write a Letter to the Editor
To help get the word out there and inform the public of these changes, we need people to help by writing letters to our local papers. To submit your Letter to the Editor, visit the Wisconsin State Journal, Cap Times, and Isthmus or contact Admin@ProDane.org.
Attend Our Next General Membership Meeting
On Wednesday, September 17th, Progressive Dane will hold a General Membership Meeting at the Madison Senior Center to discuss the proposed rate changes. Join us for the discussion to hear more about our efforts on this issue. The meeting is open to the public and all are welcomed to attend! Visit our calendar to RSVP for the meeting.
Overall, MG&E's proposed changes for 2015 will increase the average consumer's energy bill, hinder clean energy efforts, and reward big energy consumers and industries.
Here are the basic details of MG&E's proposal:
- 85% increase in fixed monthly charges for all consumers (~$10.25 to $19 in 2015)
- 8% decrease in variable electricity rates (14.4 cents/kWh to 13.3 cents/kWh in 2015)
Here are the impacts of these changes:
- Increased energy bills for average homeowners and renters; decreased costs for big businesses and industries
- Lessened ability for consumers to impact their monthly energy bills
- Decreased incentives to conserve energy or invest in clean energy alternatives like solar panels
- Higher energy consumption due to decreased variable electricity rates
Energy Conservation and Environmental Impacts
Doubling fixed monthly charges will effectively double the amount of time it takes for individuals to see a return on their clean energy investments. This will lead to fewer consumers taking steps such as installing solar panels, weatherizing homes or apartments, and more energy being drawn from our power grid. With over 85% of our energy coming from fossil fuels, this means more carbon emissions and worse air quality.
Madison took a strong step forward in promoting energy conservation in the Sustainability Plan. Given the impact of the MG&E rate increase on conservation efforts, how will we possibly meet our goal of 40% emissions reduction by 2030?
Worse Changes on the Horizon?
In their initial application, MG&E suggested that these rate structures should continue to shift, with consumers seeing up to $60/month increases in fixed monthly charges. With the cost of living already on the rise and no sign of decreases in rent for Madison's 50% renter population, this $700/year increase in costs could greatly tarnish the livability of our community. While MG&E has withdrawn its proposals for 2016 and 2017, they have 'tipped their hand' when it comes to their future energy strategies.
Making Consumers "Pay their Fair Share"?
MG&E has continuously made the argument that this proposal is designed to ensure that all consumers are "paying their fair share" when it comes to energy use. However, this argument is completely disconnected from the reality of their proposal. By shifting costs onto customers already working to conserve their energy consumption, MG&E is punishing those for taking responsible steps to address climate change and individual costs.
Additionally, this argument completely misses the goal of all energy conservation campaigns. The idea shouldn't be to punish individual consumers, it should be to incentivize bigger energy users into finding means of lowering their energy costs.