April 11, 2018 Read More →

Wisconsin Consumer Advocates Seek Savings From Coal Plant Closing

Milwaukee Journal Sentinal:

Three groups that represent customers of We Energies have asked state regulators to set aside the money that the utility will save from shutting down the Pleasant Prairie power plant to ensure the savings go to customers and not stockholders.

The Citizens Utility Board, the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group and the Wisconsin Paper Council also question whether We Energies knew that it planned to close the power plant — and save almost $50 million a year in operating costs — when it proposed freezing rates for two years.

The Pleasant Prairie power plant, which could generate 1,200 megawatts of electricity, was shut down last week. We Energies projected that the operations and maintenance cost of running the Pleasant Prairie plant would be $47.7 million this year, while the PSC staff estimated the cost at $49.3 million, according to the three groups.

We Energies rates won’t change until Jan. 1, 2020, under a two-year rate freeze proposed by the utility last year and approved by the commission in September.

The operations and maintenance costs of Pleasant Prairie power plant are only one part of its costs included in customers’ rates. We Energies also will earn a return, or profit, on its remaining investment — roughly $681.3 million — in the plant.

The return, which is included in rates, is estimated at $36.2 million this year, according to the Citizens Utility Board, the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group and the Wisconsin Paper Council. The groups also want that money set aside until the next rate case when the commission can determine if the full cost of We Energies stranded investment in Pleasant Prairie should be passed on to customers.

More: Advocates Want We Energies Customers To Get Savings From Closing Pleasant Prairie Power Plant

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