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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: 05/02/2016

- Last month, voters in the Unified School District of Antigo rejected a referendum that would have consolidated the district's seven elementary schools. Now the district has to figure out what to do with the teachers, staff and students of one school that will close in June.

- Plus, until now Price County has never had any type of public transportation.  Park Falls hasn't even had a taxi service in years.  That all changed in April with a new bus.

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

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ADAMS COUNTY - Update-We now know the names of two men who died in a two car crash near the Wisconsin Dells over the weekend.

The Wisconsin State Patrol tells us 65 year old Timothy Helm and his passenger, 72 year old Frances Chowaniec died at the scene of the crash.

Both men were from Oxford.

24 year old Kolton Coon of Wisconsin Dells was the second driver.

He was taken to a hospital and expected to survive.

The crash happened Saturday afternoon around 2:00 on County Road B north of state highway 23 in Adams County.

Wisconsin State Patrol is still investigating.





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PARK FALLS - Park Falls's Bob Kranig hadn't been to the grocery store in three years, by his estimation.

"I've got to rely on other people," he said.

Getting to the store himself was simply too tough. Kranig doesn't walk or drive. He mostly stays in his motorized wheelchair, which he calls his scooter.

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WAUSAU - The City of Wausau confirmed on Monday that Sears will close its store in the Wausau Center Mall in the near future.

This is the second of three anchor stores to leave the Wausau Center Mall since JC Penney closed 2014, and this might come at a bad time for the mall and the city.

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MERRILL - The Merrill Area Public School Board announced Monday that it has received the resignations from its district administrator and assistant district administrator.

Superintendent Wally Leipart and Assistant Superintendent Michele Jahnke submitted their letters of resignation Monday.

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RHINELANDER - The Oneida County Humane Society hopes expanding its current facility will help the animals and the public.

OCHS announced plans to expand and improve the animal shelter at its annual Furball fundraiser.

It will use a $100,000 grant the shelter received from PETCO last year to help cover some of those costs. But OCHS will also need to raise more money to cover all the planned improvements.

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RHINELANDER -

Northwoods timber harvesters can now use a new business tool. 


StumpGeek software allows loggers to track things like their finances, timber, and cash flow.


The goal of the program is to offer an easy-to-use application.


Designers believe the software is tailored to the needs of Northwoods loggers.  


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