City residents to see higher Madison Gas & Electric bills

The state Public Service Commission approved Madison Gas & Electric’s proposed utility rate increase Wednesday, according to a city press release.

MG&E presented the proposal for the increase in October, seeking to increase the cost of electric energy for an average residential customer and decrease the local portion of a natural gas bill.

Mayor Paul Soglin said in a statement he is disappointed in the approval because it is contrary to Madison’s interests.

“[The rate design] will undermine energy conservation efforts, energy efficiency investments, and the renewable energy investments in our community,” Soglin said in the statement.

Soglin also said during the 2014 Energy Summit held Oct. 30 the decrease in the cost of natural gas acts as a “disincentive” for homeowners seeking environmentally friendly energy sources.

Studies have also shown residents strongly oppose the proposal.

RENEW Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization advocating sustainable energy, published data showing strong opposition to increasing utility rates for Wisconsin Public Service, We Energies and MG&E through public comments posted online. The research team found 90 percent of the 3,500 aggregated public comments expressed opposition.

The study also found more than 1,200 comments specifically about MG&E opposed the 3.7 percent monthly increase, while 126 comments showed support.

However, MG&E Corporate Communications Specialist Steve Schultz recently said the proposal is consistent with ongoing national discussion of reliable service and renewable energy.

“While we disagreed with MG&E about the rate increase, we all share a common goal with MG&E of having a strong locally owned utility, active and viable as a community leader,” Soglin said in the statement.

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