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Friday, December 18, 2009

State DA surcharge now hitting We Energies bills

From a Tom Content blog post on JSonline:

The state-authorized surcharge on electric bills to pay for district attorney salaries is now hitting utility bills of We Energies customers.

The Milwaukee utility is the last of the investor-owned utilities in the state to begin collecting the surcharge. The increase took effect with bills processed on Thursday, utility spokesman Brian Manthey said.

For residential customers, the fee amounts to 47 cents a month. The fee will drop to 26 cents a month for the fiscal year that starts in July.

Small businesses will be assessed $1.07 a month beginning now and 57 cents a week beginning in July. Factories can expect to pay $29.53 a month starting this week, and $15.83 a month beginning in July, the utility said.

Wisconsin legislators included the surcharge among a host of fee increases aimed at helping balance the state budget. Other fee increases adopted as part of the state budget include surcharges imposed on cell-phone bills.

We Energies will end up collecting about $8 million for the state from its customers across the state over the next 19 months, Manthey said.

Prosecutors are being paid from a fund originally designed to help poor people pay their utility bills and weatherize their homes. The extra fee is the latest in a series of budget maneuvers that have sent a total of $166 million from electricity ratepayers to non-energy-related state government purposes since 2002.

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