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NEWS STORIES

WPS Proposes a Price Increase in Utility RatesSubmitted: 03/29/2013
Story By Melissa Constanzer

ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - You probably turned up the heat this winter. And you may not have thought how that could impact your bill in years to come. But utility companies estimate future rate increases due to previous usage. And that could mean bigger bills in the future.

Wisconsin Public Service is proposing an increase on utility rates. Rates have remained relatively stable over the past five years. But the increase would have an effect.

"That would really only equate to a dollar, over the last six years, a dollar per month increase. Overall, electric rates are staying fairly stable," says Leah Van Zile, WPS Community Relations.

WPS has proposed the increase based off estimates of what costs will be in the future. In past years, over estimates means customers actually saved money.

"That has resulted in very, very minimal impacts, if any. For example, residential customers, they have only seen a less than a one half percent [increase] over the last five years. And actually, natural gas prices have gone down," says Van Zile.

But the increase isn't set in stone yet. It's a long process to before you'll see a change in your utility bill.

"Because of how the process works, it's really an eighteen month process from start of planning what we might do to what the actual decision is," says Van Zile.

In fact, just last year a rate increase was proposed. But rates never rose. If WPS does raise the rates, you won't notice until your January bill.





WPS announced today it has filed a request for a rate increase with state regulators.

It is asking for a 7.4 percent bump in electric rates starting next year.

A 5.6 percent increase is in the works for natural gas.

WPS says the company's electric rates have been relatively flat in recent years, and that gas rates have actually fallen.

It will be up to the state public service commission to decide what rate increase will be allowed, if any.


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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 09/04/2015

- This year, the Lakeland area will pack its millionth food packet to send to hungry kids around the world. Volunteers work with Food For Kidz to measure and package dry food. This year the group has increased its goal, but it needs 600 volunteers to help.

- We'll speak with with Crandon's new school superintendent about the challenges he faces.


- And take a visit to Langlade County to learn how one group is protecting its lake.


We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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PHILLIPS - Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett wants all city police officers to wear body cameras by the end of next year. He made that proposal this week after tension between police and the public in places like Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Ferguson, Missouri.

One Northwoods police department has been using the cameras for years. Phillips police officers have worn body cameras since 2008. They turn them on while responding to many situations in the city.

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TOMAHAWK - Some school board members in the Northwoods run unopposed, but that could change in Tomahawk.

Ken Schulz is one of the more than 100 community members who want change.

The change could mean there's only seven people on the Tomahawk School Board instead of nine. 
 
Schulz is the former school board president.

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LANGLADE COUNTY - Lake property owners in the Northwoods often care deeply about the health and well-being of their lakes. The people who live around Rolling Stone Lake in northern Langlade County are just one example.

The lake has a weed cutter machine, a large storage and maintenance building, and public land. Members around the lake pay a little extra tax for those things. But the lake district will also raise thousands of dollars this weekend. They're hosting a picnic, rummage sale, raffles, and bake sale for their lake.

"It's really the best-kept secret in the Northwoods, I think," said Char Waite, a member of the Rolling Stone Lake Protecting and Rehabilitation District. "It's quiet. It's a great lake to fish. It's a great lake to boat. We just love it here."

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MINOCQUA - This year, the Lakeland area will pack its millionth food packet to send to hungry kids around the world.

Volunteers work with Food For Kidz to measure and package dry food.

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WISCONSIN - Gogebic Taconite will no longer pursue mining in northern Wisconsin. The company scrapped its plans for a huge iron ore mine in Iron and Ashland Counties this spring.

But state Democrats aren't forgetting about the mining issue. They're proposing a bill which they say would close a loophole in the state's 2013 mining law. That law relaxed the permitting process for iron mines.

The Democrats' bill would make it illegal to fill or destroy the bed of a lake, stream, reservoir, or flowage to mine the materials underneath. Bill author Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) said right now, mining could be done legally under flowages and reservoirs.

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RHINELANDER - The potato will be king in Rhinelander this weekend, but Friday, the focus is on fish.

The Rhinelander Café and Pub will be serving its fish fry to start PotatoFest's activities. 

It starts at 5 p.m. 

This is the second year The Rhinelander Café and Pub has served fish fry at PotatoFest.

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