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WPS Proposes a Price Increase in Utility RatesSubmitted: 03/29/2013
WPS Proposes a Price Increase in Utility Rates
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

MADISON (AP) - Madison is ending its compost collection program because residents were putting too many non-compostable items in their carts and the city can't afford its own biodigester.

Bryan Johnson is the city's recycling coordinator. He tells The Wisconsin State Journal that ending the program will give officials time to study other options for collecting food scraps and other compostable materials.

The program currently has about 1,100 households and 40 businesses involved.

Johnson says separating non-compostable materials is a labor-intensive and slow process that requires additional water. The digester's operator, GL Dairy Biogas, charges a $200-per-ton fee to separate debris from compostable material.

Mayor Paul Soglin says he hopes the city can find ways to work with larger producers before integrating the process into the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District.

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EAGLE RIVER - A week long workshop in Eagle River shows students they're not alone in their passion for nature. Kids from all over the Midwest arrived at the Trees for Tomorrow campsite for the first day of The Natural Resources Career Workshop.

Out of towners visit the Northwoods to escape noise, and enjoy some peace and quiet. 

"I just like being out in nature instead of one of those people playing video games constantly," said 16-year-old Austin Shimeck.

The Natural Resources Career Workshop turned the benefits of visiting the Northwoods into a classroom. 

"Giving them the experience that some of these students may not have had," said Trees for Tomorrow Coordinator Vernon Gentele. 
 
High school students from all over the mid-west came to the camp to explore the unique environment. 

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Oneida County Fair fundraiserSubmitted: 06/17/2018

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RHINELANDER - The new Oneida County Fair Coordinator wants to see the fair grow and get the community fully involved.

It's Tom Barnett's first year as fair coordinator and Saturday at Pat's Tavern in Rhinelander he hosted a fundraiser.

He said he didn't have a financial goal for Saturday's event, but says every dollar is more than they had before and makes a difference.

"We really want to bring the community into the fair. We want them to be involved a lot more. With the support from the community the sponsorship, it's only going to help the fair grow bigger and better. We need that sponsorship we need the support from the community to make the fair grown and make it more successful than it has been," said Barnett.

Pixy the Clown and Ms America were two of the many guests at the event.
There was also food, drinks and raffles.

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RHINELANDER - It took a local author 30 years to publish his book.Jay Woolf was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia or CLL. He decided to use his pain from the disease to help others cope.

Woolf is from Winchester, Wisconsin. He started writing the book "It IS a Laughing Matter," when he was diagnosed with cancer 30 years ago. He just finished the book last year.

"Every death joke that I knew, started coming to mind and every time it came out I realized it was helping me. If it helps me, maybe it could help somebody else," said Woolf. 

Woolf wanted to use his jokes to help people.He sells his books and also does talks at local libraries. Woolf has been in remission for about 17 years.


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GRAND RAPIDS - Saturday afternoon a boat crash in Wood County caused multiple injuries according to DNR Conservation Warden Korey Trowbridge.

The single boat crash happened around 12:30 p.m. on Lake Wazeecha in Grand Rapids. Five people were on board when the boat collided with the shore line.

Multiple people were transported to a hospital for their injuries. The extent of those injuries is unknown.

The Wood County Sheriff's Department, the Grand Rapids Police Department and the DNR are all investigating the crash. 

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MINOCQUA - In just a couple months, the democratic primary will decide which party candidate will run against Governor Scott Walker.

On Saturday, five of those candidates spent time in Minocqua answering citizen's questions at a candidate forum.

Mike, McCabe, Tony Evers, Matt Flynn, Kathleen Vinehout, and Dana Wachs were all in attendance. The forum had candidates answer audience questions on education, healthcare, the environment, and economy issues. 
 
Organizer Jackie Cody said the event was a way to get people informed on each candidate before the democratic primary. 

"At this particular point we need to have democrats, and independents, and those who are questioning what's going on with answers before the magic date of August 14th, and this provides people with information," said Cody.

More than 100 people attended the event.

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MINOCQUA - T-shirts and running shoes are typical at a 5K race, but paws and doggy dish prizes, not so much. 

"There isn't anything like this, in this area at least," said Blue Raven Race Productions organizer Karen McCabe.

The first-ever Paws on the Run 5K was held in Minocqua Saturday to support the Northwoods Wildlife Center. 

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