Superior Water Light & Power rate hike approved

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Utility rates are about to go up in Superior. The Wisconsin Public Service Commission has approved Superior Water Light and Power’s request to raise the cost of electric, water, and gas for the city.

This after a vocal campaign back in October to halt the hikes, led by Mayor Jim Paine.

The approved rate hikes will bring in roughly 1.3 million more dollars for the utility company, which is actually 1.1  million dollars less than they requested.

Come January, water rates will go up about 8 and a half percent. Natural gas and electric rates will each go up anywhere from a half-percent to 1.2 percent.

Officials say it averages out to a roughly 5 dollars to 14 dollars per month rate hike, for the average bill.

Superior Water Light and Power says the hikes, in part, are to help offset the cost of Husky Energy going offline.
The refinery uses around 25 percent of the 800 million gallons used by customers.

Mayor Paine, who traveled to Madison in October to vocally oppose the rate hike, says the city plans to be a bigger player in that same conversation two years from now.

“So what I’m committed to do is having the city of Superior act as a intervener in the process next time. We actually have to file with the Public Service commission in advance to have the right to review evidence, to submit follow-up evidence, to challenge evidence after it’s been submitted on the hearing date,” said Paine.

Officials say if Husky Energy goes back online sooner than 2020, Superior Water Light and Power will be required to return the excess rates collected back to the customers.

The rate hikes will also be used to help pay for major infrastructure improvements in Superior, like replacing the century old water mains under Belknap Street, gas system upgrades, and updates to Superior’s water treatment plant.

Neil Vierzba

Neil Vierzba

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