UPPCO looks to raise electric rates

Today, Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO) applied to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) for permission to raise retail electric base rates by 8.10%. While the net effect on customers will vary by rate classification, if approved, the average residential customer in the Integrated System using 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month would see an increase of approximately $10.15 per month. An average residential customer in the Iron River System using 500 kilowatt-hours a month would see an increase of approximately $10.09.

The MPSC oversees the rates UPPCO charges and must approve any rate increases. The actual increases may change as we work with the Commission and conditions change.

The major reasons for UPPCO’s request are directly related to the following increased expenses:

  • Required safety improvements at the Victoria and Prickett hydroelectric generation plants
  • Rebuilding a generator and other improvements at Hoist hydroelectric generation plant
  • Improvements to the electric system for increased reliability
  • Increased tree trimming to reduce weather related outages
  • General inflation

“We know rate increases are difficult for our customers,” said Jodi Pineau, customer operations supervisor. “Unfortunately, they’re necessary for us to ensure the safe and reliable energy that customers depend upon. We have made efforts to reduce costs such as healthcare benefit changes that have resulted in significant savings.”

UPPCO’s service territory is large and sparsely populated, for the most part.

“As costs to maintain our large distribution system rise, we have fewer customers per miles of electric line to share the costs than a more compact urban utility,” Pineau said. “Still it’s never easy raising rates.”