Public Hearing Yields Mostly Criticism For Utility’s Rate Change Proposal

We Energies' Plan Would Increase Fixed Rates On Customers' Bills


Hundreds of people attended a public hearing in Milwaukee on Wednesday, mostly to criticize a rate change proposal from the state’s largest electric utility.

We Energies, along with two other utilities in the state, wants a rate increase for all its customers. The company also wants to increase its monthly fixed charge and add another charge for solar power users who are part of the electrical grid.

At the Public Service Commission hearings in Milwaukee, customers complained the plan would hurt them and several spoke out against We Energies leaders and the utility system. Frank VandeCorput noted that We Energies CEO Gale Klappa earned millions of dollars last year.

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“Where in god’s creation does anybody get over $10 million a year in executive compensation? I can’t see it, I’m sorry,” said VandeCorput.

Other people at the hearing, like one Mark Gill, said that it’s also an issue that customers don’t have a choice in their electric company.

“This is a public monopoly. They have no competition by design,” he said.

Some speakers did endorse We Energies’ proposal, including representatives from the United Steelworkers, utility investors and social service agencies that have gotten money from the utility. Ralph Hollmon of the Milwaukee Urban League said the company needs the revenue to maintain the electrical grid.

Similar arguments are expected on Thursday in Madison, when the PSC holds a hearing on a rate proposal from Madison Gas & Electric.