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Wisconsin Manufacturers Call for Retail Choice

Large electricity users are lobbying Wisconsin state regulators to allow for 3rd party electricity competition for the state. Wisconsin currently has the highest electricity rates of any Midwestern state, and is above the US average for all electricity users.


Wisconsin regulators began considering electric competition in 1994 but closed the docket in 2000, deciding not to implement retail choice. Now, with the state’s rates the highest in the Midwest, some big power users are calling for another look.

Wisconsin’s large manufacturers are asking state regulators to grant them retail choice, warning that high power prices may otherwise cripple the state’s economic growth. Companies and manufacturing groups filed comments with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission in response to the PSC’s Strategic Energy Assessment (SEA) 2022, a biennial report finalized late last month that forecasts Wisconsin’s power needs six years into the future (5‐ES‐108).

The 70-page report notes that Wisconsin electric rates are the highest among Midwestern states and higher than the national average. In 2015, average industrial rates in the state were 7.77 cents/kWh, versus 6.86 cents/kWh for the Midwest and 6.89 cents/kWh for the U.S. Across all electric use, Wisconsin residents and businesses pay an average 10.93 cents/kWh, compared to the Midwest’s average of 9.66 cents/kWh and the national average of 10.42 cents/kWh.

In a joint comment, the Wisconsin Paper Council and the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group, which represents more than 30 large industrial ratepayers, said “energy and capacity are not available at reasonable prices in Wisconsin.”

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