GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — You may want to prepare yourself to spend more on your electric bills next year.
Wisconsin Public Service is proposing an energy rate hike of 14 percent for the average residential customer, which is around $14 per month.
This means the average customer could be spending roughly $170 extra on their electric bill.
"I have no issues against WPS," Green Bay resident Doug Cayer said. "And they've always been real nice and helpful, but this just seems a little bit outrageous."
Customers and residents of Green Bay spoke out against WPS's proposed 14 percent energy bill hike during a public hearing at the Neville Public Museum on Tuesday.
"We just want you to do the work and be honest with everybody," Green Bay resident Walter Welsing said.
Two local politicians - Republican State Senator Robert Cowles and Democratic Representative Kristina Shelton — both asked that WPS's proposal should not be approved.
According to Public Service Commission of Wisconsin documents (page 210), WPS is also asking for a 14 percent monthly increase for small commercial businesses, and a seven percent increase for large properties.
"This rate proposal could mean that WPS customers are left paying the bills and healthy profits to the utility beyond its necessity," Cowles said.
"The largest corporations in our area will see a softened blow, while our working class families will have to decide between eating, keeping a roof over their head, and the lights on," Shelton said. "That's the choice that we have today."
The company's request is more than double what it recommended back in April, which was a six percent rate increase.
"We are seeing some significant inflationary pressures, including the cost of natural gas, the cost of coal," WPS spokesperson Matt Cullen said.
Cullen says in the long term, the company is investing into renewable energy and carbon emissions, and getting rid of fossil fuels.
"Those steps that we're taking are expected to save our customers $1 billion over the next 20 years," Cullen said.
Cullen says if customers are struggling to pay their electric bills, don't hesitate to contact them.
"We're here to work with our customers no matter what time of year it is, no matter who they are," Cullen said.
Cullen says the PSC of Wisconsin is expected to make a final decision about the electricity rate proposal near the end of this year. If everything goes forward, new energy rates would go into effect on Jan. 1 of next year.
There are plenty of options to contact WPS if you have concerns about your electric bill. More information can be found here.