Electric rate increases approved for WPS customers

MENOMINEE COUNTY — Some southern U.P. residents will see electric rate increases over the next three years.

The Michigan Public Service Commission announced last week that they had authorized Wisconsin Public Service Corporation to raise electric rates for its Michigan customers. WPS serves around 10,000 customers in the Menominee area.

“In Michigan, because we only have a few customers and the cost and expense of adjusting rates is an expensive process, we don’t change them very often,” said Kerry Spees, spokesperson for Wisconsin Public Service Corporation. “So this latest one is going to be the third increase since 1987, and it’s a three–year kind of deal to bring rates more in line with those of our Wisconsin customers and also with the Michigan average.”

Urban residential customers using 500 kilowatt–hours of electricity will see an initial increase of $6.85 on their monthly bill, while rural customers will see an increase of around $2.44. The rate change is a result of various cost factors.

“Even though it’s been relatively under control lately, there is inflation every year in the range of one to three percent,” added Spees. “and then there are maintenance projects — new construction projects that have to be funded to make sure that we can keep providing safe, reliable energy.”

The new rates went into effect on April 24th. Additional increases will follow annually in 2016 and 2017.