Gas firm serving Troy seeks rate hike from state PSCWhile below-average temperatures boosted St. Croix Gas’ revenue last year, the local utility is seeking a 6.99 percent rate hike this year, according to a document filed with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.
By: By Kevin Murphy, Hudson Star-Observer
While below-average temperatures boosted St. Croix Gas’ revenue last year, the local utility is seeking a 6.99 percent rate hike this year, according to a document filed with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.
The last St. Croix Gas rate hike was 3.02% authorized in October 2005.
St. Croix Gas, River Falls, serves roughly 6,000 customers in Hammond, Prescott, River Falls, and the towns of Hammond, Troy, Kinnickinnic, Clifton and River Falls.
In preliminary testimony filed earlier this month, St. Croix Valley’s President Don Piepgras said the company needs an extra $688,000 this year to offset the $194,445 cost of energy-efficiency programs as well as labor and other business expenses that are estimated to increase 4.5 percent this year.
Without the rate hike, Piepgras said the utility would incur an operating loss based on projected expenses and income. The specific financial data Piepgras referenced wasn’t available as Piepgras is out of the country and unavailable for comment, said Stephanie Brown, office manager.
Other preliminary testimony from St. Croix Gas included these points:
St. Croix Gas is seeking rates that will allow it to earn an overall 10.95 percent return on its investment. It projects a minus 1.3 percent return this year if current financial projections continue.
Cold temperatures in 2008 allowed the company to earn a 9.99 percent return last year, slightly higher than the rate last authorized by the PSC.
PSC spokesperson Teresa Weidemann-Smith declined to give a range on the rate of return the commission recently had been authorizing for gas utilities similar to St. Croix Gas.
Instead, she said, the PSC reviewed each utility individually and based on its rate of return decision on the financial information the company supplies.
The PSC normally takes six months to analyze a utility rate case, hold a public hearing and set new rates, but Weidemann-Smith expected the St. Croix Gas case to take less time.