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Utility customers due refundsSubmitted: 07/12/2019
Utility customers due refunds
Story By Associated Press

Photos By Cropped Photo: Courtesy of MGN

MADISON - Refunds are in store for customers of Wisconsin's four largest for-profit utilities.

Ratepayers are due more than $25 million because of low energy prices in 2018. The Public Service Commission sets rates one to two years in advance based on fixed expenses and an estimate cost of fuel. And, when the projections are more than 2% of the actual costs, utilities must refund the difference, with interest.

The State Journal says Madison Gas & Electric customers should see the largest refunds of about $20 for most households. The utility collected about $9.5 million more than its actual costs. Utility spokesman Steve Schultz says the savings resulted from lower gas prices and the acquisition of a portion of the Forward Energy wind farm.

The other utilities are Alliant, WPS and Xcel.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

WISCONSIN - Utility crews have restored power to more than 138,000 customers following destructive thunderstorms that struck eastern Wisconsin this weekend.

But WE Energies and Wisconsin Public Service say around 127,000 customers were still without power as of around midday Sunday.

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MADISON -  A report shows 11 rural hospitals in Wisconsin stopped routinely delivering babies in the past 10 years.

The Wisconsin Office of Rural Health report shows that the closures were due to the challenge of a low number of both on-call providers and number of deliveries.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports the most recent obstetrics closures were in Grantsburg and Ripon in 2017.

The report, which was released last week, indicates that 56% of the state's rural hospitals perform routine deliveries, compared with 40% of rural hospitals nationally.

The report says nearly 99% of women of child-bearing age in Wisconsin live within a 30-minute drive of a hospital that provides obstetrics.

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DE PERE - St. Norbert Abbey in Wisconsin has released the names of 22 priests who faced "credible" allegations of sexually abusing minors.

The abbey says an independent review deemed more than 40 allegations credible. About half came from the 1960s, and 12 Norbertine priests faced multiple allegations. All but five are dead. Two of the living have left the abbey and ministry; three others are restricted from ministry.

Abbot Dane Radecki says the names were released Friday in the spirit of accountability, but gave few details of the allegations.

The abbey serves St. Norbert College and some schools and parishes around De Pere.

The report came six months after the Green Bay Diocese named 46 priests with credible claims of sexual abuse against them but did not include priests from independent orders.


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PICKEREL - The Siebers family spent much of their Sunday scrubbing. The linings of their walk-in freezer were covered in mold.

The Siebers' restaurant, The Northwoods Inn, lost power after the storm Friday night.

"We've been through a lot here," said co-owner Perry Siebers. "We've been here 23 years, but it's tough."

The Siebers had to throw away thousands of dollars' worth of food from their freezer.

"We only had one generator, so enough to run two chest-freezers," said co-owner Kelly Siebers. "For our big walk-in cooler, all the food is pretty much a loss."

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PHELPS - An "antique critique" in Phelps Sunday helped people learn the value of their collectables, family heirlooms and thrift store finds with a little help from a familiar face. 

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MADISON - Madison police say they've arrested two teenage girls after a report of shots fired led to a chase and a crash into a squad car.

Officers responded to the shots fired around 12:45 p.m. Saturday. They found nobody injured or any damage, but found a shell casing and evidence that a suspected stolen car that had left the area was connected to the shots.

Police spotted the car about 45 minutes later and began a chase. After crashing into a Madison squad car, the two suspects ran away, leading to a short foot chase before they were arrested.

The 17-year-old and 16-year-old female suspects face charges of eluding a police officer and operating a vehicle without the owner's consent.

Both suspects and two Madison officers were treated for minor injuries.


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ONEIDA COUNTY -
Severe summer storms led to at least one of two emergencies Pine Lake Fire Rescue responded to Friday night.

According to a department Facebook post, firefighters were dispatched to a natural gas leak off White Pine Rd in Stella caused by the storm.

Homeowners were evacuated for over two hours until WPS could shut off the gas line.

Those firefighters were also dispatched to a one vehicle accident on Shepherd Lake Rd Friday night.

The driver from the accident was transported to St Mary's in Rhinelander for non-life threatening injuries.


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