February 22, 2008

Alliant seeks rate increase; FdL area wind farm one reason for increased costs

Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WPL), a subsidiary of Alliant Energy Corporation (NSYE: LNT), filed a request today with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) to adjust its retail electric and natural gas rates, effective Jan. 1, 2009.

WPL is requesting to increase retail electric rates by $93 million (9.1 percent) and decrease natural gas service rates by $814,000 (1.0 percent), when compared to current rates, according to an Alliant press release.

The request seeks to recover costs of operating the electric and natural gas utility systems. The cost drivers in this case include increased spending on electric generation infrastructure, environmental compliance and stewardship, enhanced investment in renewable energy purchasing and projects, stepped up customer energy-efficiency and conservation efforts, and related transmission and distribution costs.

In the request, WPL asks the PSCW for approval to offer customers low interest financing or grants for customer-owned renewable generation, a move designed to encourage further development of renewable energy sources. The proposed renewable initiative will assist agricultural, commercial and industrial customers, schools and governments in identifying and implementing renewable energy projects. As part of this proceeding, WPL proposes to increase its buyback rates for solar, biogas, and wind energy and to combine rate options with incremental funding for new conservation programs.

“We have worked hard to control our operational costs and we intend to continue to do so into the future, however, an increase is needed in 2009 for costs associated with the Cedar Ridge Wind Farm, addition of emission controls to existing plants, and expansion of our energy conservation and renewable programs,” said Barbara J. Swan, President-WPL. “These costs are necessary to ensure we continue to provide our customers with safe, reliable and environmentally responsible electric and natural gas utility service, while advancing Wisconsin’s opportunity for long-term economic growth and a greener energy future.”

The requested changes in electric rates would increase the base rates established by the PSCW on January 1, 2008.

A typical residential electric customers using 600 kWh per month would see a monthly increase of approximately $8.71 on their bills. A typical residential natural gas customer using 730 therms annually would see a decrease of approximately $7.00 over the course of a year. The actual amount may vary depending on the outcome of the pending case and associated rate designs approved by the Commission.

The approval process for the base rate case is expected to take approximately nine months, resulting in new rates becoming effective on or about January 1, 2009.

The electric rate request is based on forecasted costs for 2009. WPL is also requesting that the case be re opened to included costs associated with approved infrastructure additions for 2010. The gas rate decrease is based on the average of 2009 and 2010 forecasted costs. All rate changes must be approved by the PSCW after a thorough review of the data and after obtaining input from the public.

Fond du Lac Reporter

22 February 2008

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2008/02/22/alliant-seeks-rate-increase-fdl-area-wind-farm-one-reason-for-increased-costs/