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GOVERNOR WALKER SIGNS BILL RELATING TO RATE DISPUTES

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has signed legislation (2017 Wisconsin Act 136) to give utilities a way to resolve disputes over their attempts to raise the rates charged to homeowners and businesses. The measure would allow a utility to reach a settlement with a group representing homeowners or businesses and then let the Public Service Commission decide on approving it. If one group of ratepayers settled with the utility and the other didn’t, the commission would have to take input from all sides but could still approve the settlement. This legislation was supported by WUI and Wisconsin utilities.

WE ENERGIES FEDERAL TAX CUT MAY NOT IMMEDIATELY FLOW THRU TO CUSTOMERS

We Energies customers may not see immediate savings from $200 million in benefits the company is gaining from President Donald Trump’s federal income tax overhaul. Instead, WEC Energy Group hopes to apply the money to reducing a balance remaining for costs the company incurred investing in electric transmission equipment. WEC Energy Group has filed its plan with the Public Service Commission. The PSC requested all Wisconsin utility companies file plans on how they propose to use the money resulting from federal corporate income tax cuts from 35 percent to 21 percent. WEC Energy says its plan to apply the savings to paying down deferred balances for electric transmission equipment follows a directive from the PSC in the company’s most recent rate case.

ATC Receives Approval from PSC for Transmission Line

On January 12th, American Transmission Company received approval from the Public Service
Commission of Wisconsin to construct an approximately 4.2 mile, 345,000-volt Riverside
Transmission Line Project. The project will consist of a double-circuit transmission line from a
planned new substation near the Alliant Energy West Riverside Energy Center to an existing
345-kV transmission line in the Town of Beloit.

The line is needed to connect the expanded West Riverside Energy Center to the electric
transmission grid. The West Riverside Energy Center will include a natural gas-fueled
generating station with an integrated solar installation.

“The ordered route is made up of segments from the two routes that ATC submitted to the PSC,”
said ATC Project Manager Mark Sanzenbacher. “The anticipated project cost is approximately
$42 million.”

The planned in-service date of the line is 2019.

We Energies Rate-Freeze Plan Wins Regulatory Approval

We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service Corp. won final state regulatory approval for a proposal to freeze business and residential rates for two years in what the company calls its response to complaints from industrial customers that electric rates in Wisconsin are too high.

The public utility companies owned by WEC Energy Group Inc. filed a proposed settlement in April to avoid the cost and effort of a full review by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.  At the time, the companies said 21 industrial customers signed statements backing the rate proposal.

The rate freeze adds two years to an existing two-year flatrate period that runs through 2017. The settlement also makes permanent cheaper wholesale rates that large industrial customers pay for expanded use of power from We Energies. The Public Service Commission has approved a draft order approving the company proposal for 2018 and 2019. The commission in August had voted to support the plan from the WEC Energy companies.

The PSC draft order determined that freezing We Energies base rates through 2019 was reasonable and in the public interest. The order also states that it’s reasonable to authorize We Energies to
extend and expand the market-based pricing for electric service at large commercial and industrial customers.

A WEC Energy spokeswoman said company executives are pleased with the commission’s action.

PSCW APPROVES RATE FREEZE FOR WE ENERGIES, WPS CUSTOMERS

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission has approved a two-year rate freeze for We
Energies’ and Wisconsin Public
Service’s electric and natural gas customers. The rate
freeze was part of a settlement proposed by WEC Energy Group,
the utilities’ parent
company, and supported by 24 of its largest customers. The two-year rate freeze means
that We
Energies’ electric rates — excluding fuel costs, which fluctuate — will remain
unchanged for four years. Six years also
will have passed since the utility’s last significant
increase in electric rates. In accepting the proposed settlement, the
commissioners made
clear that the commission will need to address several issues involving deferred costs that
have not
been included in We Energies rates. Those costs were projected to reach almost
$500 million by the end of the year.

WUI MEMBERS TRAVEL TO MADISON FOR DAY AT THE CAPITOL

Over 100 WUI members from across the state travelled to Madison to meet with their legislators during a critically important budgetary crunch time at our capitol. Members caught busses en-route from Green Bay and Milwaukee and also drove from points West and locally. Legislators from 16 Senate districts and 33 Assembly districts were visited. Each legislator was briefed on who Wisconsin utility shareholders are, how WUI represents a shareholder’s interests, and more specifically regarding the Wisconsin Utility Investor opposition to Senate Bill 115 and Assembly Bill 198 which seeks to nullify existing leased generation contracts.

Thank you to all who attended, braving the wet weather and construction! WUI is also very grateful for our wonderful guest speakers, Commissioner Mike Huebsch and Senator Scott Fitzgerald, for their unique insights into the regulatory and budgetary processes.

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