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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, May 26, 2022

Recent studies show vast opposition to increases in electricity utility rates

A nonprofit organization advocating sustainable energy, RENEW Wisconsin, published data showing massive opposition online to the rising utility rates that organizations such as Madison Gas and Electric have recently proposed.

RENEW Wisconsin conducted a study of public comments posted online regarding increases in electrical utility rates for Wisconsin Public Service, We Energies and MGE. The research team aggregated more than 3,500 public comments to analyze, 90 percent of which expressed opposition.

More than 1,200 people posted public comments regarding MGE rate changes alone with only 126 comments listed in support, according to the study.

Mayor Paul Soglin said during an energy panel discussion the rate changes were “disincentives” for homeowners and businesses to seek more sustainable forms of energy because the natural gas utility rates are proposed to drop.

While many members of the public are opposed to the 3.7 percent monthly electric cost increase, energy providers across the country are finding ways to compensate for the rise of sustainable energy among individual homeowners.

“The proposal on changing the rate structure really is consistent with an ongoing national discussion of how to fairly ensure that the electric grid will reliably serve all customers and effectively include renewable energy,” Steve Schultz, corporate communications manager at MGE said.

Schultz explained that more homeowners are installing solar panels and other forms of energy generation.

In addition to the increase in sustainable energy, Schultz explained the concept of a two-way flow of energy where homeowners with renewable energy do not consume all of the energy provided by their generators and utility providers have to buy the leftover energy.

“It’s not just MGE, but any utility company in the country,” Schultz said. “We have an obligation to look out 5, 10, 15 years down the road and plan for and be ready for what’s going to be happening then.”

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