NOTE: The Wisconsin Public Service Commission issued its Final Decision in the Matter of MGE’s Proposed Rate Increase in December 2014. It allowed MGE to increase it’s fixed charges for residential service from $10.44 to $19.00/month for electric service and $12.00 to $21.88/month for natural gas service. MGE also agreed to implement a community energy conversations process to get input from their ratepayers on future rate designs and other policy issues.
Madison Gas & Electric’s Billing Scheme at a Glance – 2015
A one page handout by RePower Madison outlining the impacts of the what MGE calls the “Grid Connection and Customer Service Charge,” the fee ratepayers pay before any energy is used. In 2014, MGE proposed a radical increase to these mandatory fees, which was met with broad community opposition, but approved by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSCW) and went into effect on January 1, 2015.
In 2014, Madison Gas & Electric (MGE) proposed a radically new billing system to the Public Service Commission (PSC) that encourages consumption of electricity, increased use of coal resulting in higher greenhouse gases. The proposal will increase the fixed charge that everyone pays per month regardless of your electricity usage by about 80% (~$10.5 to $19) while lowering the energy charge (cents per kilowatt hour) by about 8%.
The net effect is to increase electric bills for customers who use relatively little electricity and decrease bills for larger users. The proposal will stifle customer investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy due to the uncertain direction of future rates. The misguided approach will shackle community initiatives to build environmental sustainability into their own operations and create an unwelcoming environment for businesses and residents pursuing clean energy.
Final PSC Decision Granting MGE Rate Increase – December 23, 2014
Madison Gas & Electric – Moving our Energy Future Backwards – September 2014
MGE Rate Proposal Response – August 2014
MGE’s RATE PROPOSAL
Out of touch with Madison’s community values?
Use less – and pay more; use more – and pay less
MGE claims people who conserve and save energy aren’t paying their fair share, so they want to raise your electric connection costs from $10.40 to $19/mo. Low energy users would pay more for electricity than now, while high energy users would pay less. Should they penalize those who have reduced energy use the most?
Increased payback times – for decreasing energy use
People invest in energy efficiency expecting a certain rate of return. If you invest in electricity reduction, then you’ll get less return on your investment. Or if you plan to now invest in efficiency, it will take longer to recoup your investment. Is reducing your rate of return fair?
A dark future for solar
Investment returns on solar systems are based on the payback rate per kilowatt hour (kWh). MGE is proposing to decrease the per kWh rate, lowering the rate of return. A solar system would take longer to pay for, with less incentive to purchase a new one. Is decreased incentives and a lower payback on solar what you want?
Robbing from the poor to give to the rich
Across the country, low income customers use less energy than higher income. With MGE’s billing plan, low and middle income customers are more likely to see an increase in their utility bills than high income users whose bills are likely to decrease. Does charging more for those with lesser means match your values?
Giving you more control over your electric bill – by taking it away
MGE wants to give you smart meters and proposed raising your electric connection rate to nearly $70/mo. in 2017. They say smart meters are tools that will give you to control over your costs – yet you would have no control over a larger portion of your bill. (Does having tools that provide more control over less money sound familiar?) Smart users who have taken control would pay more. Don’t we want a plan as smart as the meters?
MGE needs to address climate change!
Climate change is caused primarily by fossil fuel use. MGE’s proposal would decrease incentives to reduce energy use or install solar, resulting in more fossil fuels use, and continuing to worsen climate change. Is this the heritage you want to leave for future generations?
Madison Sustainability Plan improvements
Madison’s Sustainability plan, which MGE was a party to, includes 25% renewables by 2025, and 80% CO2 reduction by 2050. MGE’s plan would make this harder to achieve. Does this fit Madison’s values?
The new green is black
MGE bills themselves as a green energy company in tune with this community, but currently 88% of their energy is mainly fossil fuels – and most of that is coal. Do you want greenwashing – or green energy?
Don’t we deserve an energy company that reflects this community’s priorities and values?
What you can do?
- Get Engaged by participating in RePower Madison and learn more about the issue. Sign up for our email updates > form on right side of page
- Sign our Petition to MGE
- Write to Gary Wolter, CEO of MGE: firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Send message to the MGE Board of Directors using this form
- Write letters to the local papers: WSJ, Isthmus, Cap Times, others;
Download our Tip Sheet on Writing Letters to the Editor
- Tell your neighbors, neighborhood associations, and other local organizations;
- The public comment period has ended at the Public Service Commission (PSC) – but you can still follow the proceeding (Docket number 3270-UR-120) via the full docket archive here;
- Contact your elected officials, city, county, state.