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Some local utility customers will get rebates
CROP utilities
SOME LOCAL UTILITY CUSTOMERS will get a rebate for an overestimation of 2015 energy costs.

Starting with the next billing cycle, electricity customers of Alliant Energy, which includes the villages of Gays Mills, Soldiers Grove, Seneca, Wauzeka, Ferryville and De Soto, will see rebates on their utility bills.

These rebates have resulted from utility companies across Wisconsin being ordered to refund millions of dollars to their customers for overestimating costs last year.

Investor-owned, for profit utilities that are regulated by the Public Service Commission must estimate the cost of providing electricity to customers for permission to raise annual utility rates.

Last year, those costs were lower than predicted and the state Public Service Commission ordered the money be paid back to customers.

Chris Dupres of Alliant Energy described the rebate as a “fuel cost rebate,” and said that each customer would see a rebate that is “a percentage of the overall amount to be refunded, based on their energy use.”

“This will be a one-time refund,” said spokeswoman Annemarie Newman of Alliant Energy. “The average customer uses approximately 7,200 kilowatts of electricity per year or 600 per month. For this average useage, the expected rebate would be approximately $7.00.”

“We’re still working this out with the Public Service Commission, and the agreement will be finalized at the end of July. So the numbers provided are just estimates at this time,” Newman explained.

Customers of Scenic Rivers Energy Cooperative, which includes all of the townships in Crawford County, will not receive a rebate because the cooperative is not regulated by the Public Service Commission as are for profit, investor-owned companies such as Alliant Energy.

“We haven’t overestimated because we are independent and our board, elected by the citizen-members, sets the rates,” said Scenic Rivers Energy Cooperative C.E.O. Steve Lucas.

“Assuming that there is any profit in a given year, we allocate it back to the patron’s equity accounts each year because they are the owners of the cooperative. That is the cooperative business model.”

Alliant customers in the villages of Crawford County pay different rates per kilowatt hour for electricity than Scenic Rivers Energy Cooperative customers in the rural areas.

In 2015, Alliant customers paid 0.11092 per kilowatt hour, while Scenic Rivers customers paid 0.109600. In 2016, both Alliant and Scenic Rivers’ rates remained the same as their 2015 rates.