SWL&P Looks to Increase Electric Revenues by Over $2 Million

Superior Water, Light and Power, (SWL&P), a subsidiary of Allete, has filed (Docket No. 5820-UR-114) with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSCW) for changes to its rate structures for gas and electricity, as well as water.

The last rate adjustment requested by SWL&P was four years ago, in 2012, and was authorized by the PSCW in 2013. The tariff adjustments being requested now reflect four years of changes in operating revenue, operating expenses, and customer base, the utility said.

Overall, the new rates would increase electric revenues by $2.1 million and water revenues by $760,000 – but would decrease and decrease natural gas rates by $199,000.

For average customers, that would mean a 3.46 percent increase in electrical costs, a 7.83 percent increase in water rates; and a reduction in the cost of natural gas by 1.34 percent.

According to Paul Holt, a manager of Accounting, Rates, and Gas Procurement for SWL&P who testified before the commission, the utility now has 14,732 retail electric customers, 12,658 gas customers, and 10,326 water customers. During 2015, Holt said, SWL&P derived 71 percent of its operating revenues from the electric utility, 18 percent, from its gas utility; and 11 percent from its water utility.

As for the rationale for the increases, improvements to the electrical system are ongoing, the utility reported, with a new switching station going into operation in 2015, and plans to replace 50-year-old switches at the Winter Street substation in 2017.

In addition, SWL&P said in its filing, the utility “has made significant investments to the transmission line infrastructure to enhance the electrical system’s reliability. …While SWL&P continues to make efficiency improvements to hold costs down, the company must request an increase at this time to recover the cost of the improvements it has made, and will make, in replacing infrastructure and enhancing reliability.

The actual amount of any change in SWL&P’s rates will be determined by the PSCW based on a review of the application and after public hearings expected to be scheduled in the last quarter of 2016. The rate adjustments, if approved, are anticipated to become January 1.

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