Beginning in October 2000, electric bills include a new charge as required by the State of Wisconsin, Act 9. Under this act, a "public benefits" fee is assessed to all electric customers in Wisconsin. These fees are used specifically to fund programs that include energy assistance and weatherization programs for low income qualified households, and conservation programs to encourage efficient use of energy.
As a municipal utility, we have the option to keep these funds and develop local "Commitment to Community Programs" to meet the objectives of low income assistance and energy conservation; or we can send the funds we collect to the State of Wisconsin for statewide programs to be administered by the Department of Administration. We have elected to keep the funds locally. Under Act 9, municipal utilities are required to collect monthly public benefits fees in an amount equal to an average of $16 per meter per year. In our case this amounts to approximately $48,400 per year. The Act also restricts the fees to ensure that the total increase in any customer's bill due to the 'benefits fees' does not exceed 3% of the total electric bill (or $750 per month for large customers, whichever is less) for the period October 29, 1999 to June 30, 2008.
In accordance with Act 9, we have established the following fees:
- Residential Service Customers: $0.00107 per kilowatt hour**
- General Service Customers: $0.00107 per kilowatt hour**
- Small Power Service Customers: $12.50 per month
- Large Power Service Customers: $12.50 per month
**Minimum of $0.15 per month; maximum of $12.50 per month for Residential and General Service Customers.