Marshfield Utilities Seeks Increase in Electric Rates

Marshfield Utilities Bill/File Image

Marshfield Utilities Files for Electric Rate Case Study

MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – Marshfield Utilities (MU) has filed a rate increase request with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW). This is the first time in six years that MU has sought to increase electric rates. The rate case was anticipated for recovering costs of the new building and due to increased operating costs.

“The costs associated with the building were locked in contracts prior to the current inflation increases which has resulted in significant savings compared to bidding the project now,” MU said in a statement. “MU is experiencing the same type of inflationary increases as our customers for our normal operations. There have been dramatic increases in the prices for materials, supplies, contracting services, & fuel. For example the cost for a typical transformer has increased from around $1,500 to $6,000 over the last year due to supply and demand issues.”

“We have taken steps to lessen the impact through various measuring like using alternate suppliers, altering designs, and delaying purchases,” they stated.

“The increase in fuel cost has also increased the cost of purchasing power. The price of natural gas is determined on the open market and influenced by both national and international events. Since July 2021, the price of natural gas has more than doubled. It is the highest it has been in almost 15 years, and it is expected to go even higher. Higher natural gas prices cause higher energy cost.”

Since 2016, MU has invested $29 million in improvements in the electric utility in an effort to upgrade the electric distribution system infrastructure and reduce issues to customers. Additionally, local operating expenses have increased 10 percent. If approved, the overall increase in electric rates would be 8 percent, which is an average increase of about 1.3 percent per year.

“MU has maintained and will continue to have significantly lower rates compared to cooperatives and investor owned utilities in surrounding communities,” they stated. “According to a 2021 rate comparison, MU residential rates average 33% lower than surrounding utilities.”

MU added that they understand that any increase in rates can create financial challenges for their customers.

“We encourage customers to visit our website for tips on ways to reduce energy usage which can help mitigate any increase in rates,’ they stated.

The PSCW will perform cost of service studies to determine the actual rate increase that will take effect in early 2023. Marshfield Utilities customers will have the opportunity to address the PSCW during the Rate Case Hearings that will be scheduled at a later date.

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