Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Think Before Raising Rates

Think Before Raising Rates

by Sarah Ann Shanahan on Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 11:32am ·
Do you get a sinking feeling your stomach when you pull up to the gas pump? I know I sure do; if it’s not the price of gas that’s going up, it electric rates. At a time when people have been struggling, it’s crucial for us to have all of the facts before we give a green light to a project that may increase rates for Wisconsin taxpayers.

ATC is proposing high voltage transmission lines to move power from the Western states to the Eastern. The current proposal is runs the line right though Juneau County. This line could raise rates from 3-5$ per month, per customer.

If the line is needed, then I would suggest moving forward with it. Which begs the question, what is the need? Wisconsin currently has a surplus of power. Even during a year with record temperatures and air conditioners working in overdrive, we have more than we need. Future projections do not show a drastic change in demand in the coming years either.

If there was agreement for moving forward with this project [there is no doubt much of our infrastructure needs upgrading], then we should have a serious conversation about the options to achieve our energy demands. Do we need 180 foot poles or would a smaller upgrade be sufficient? Is there a role for energy efficiency to play so we use less energy instead of building more lines? What will the impact be on property tax values? And what are the jobs associated with the various options?

ATC has made it seem like this is a done deal, just a matter of deciding where the line goes. That is not true. I call on you to join me to ensure our PSC [Public Service Commission] asks these questions. Then we can determine what’s best for Wisconsin ratepayers before we decide to raise energy prices.

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