Legislation would not let Oak Creek negotiate rates

Jan. 15, 2013

Public Forum:

Your article on the Oak Creek Water Utility in the Jan.10 issue was basically correct, but the headline and lead paragraph are misleading. The legislation being proposed would not let Oak Creek negotiate its own water rates. It would merely define how wholesale water rates would be determined in Wisconsin. It defines a very simple formula that divides the total cost of producing the water based on the percentage used by each customer. This formula has been agreed to by all the Oak Creek wholesale customers, but for some reason, the Public Service Commission turned down the agreement. Apparently they prefer long, drawn out, contested rate cases, which cost the users a lot of money, to mutual agreements.

Establishing the rate computation method in state code would also protect the utility from future PSC commissioners changing the approved method of computing the rate at a later date, thus affecting the utility's future return on investment. Since wholesale contracts are long contracts, this is very important. Oak Creek needs to protect the interests of the rate payers who have paid the casts of building a first class plant capable of supplying the water needs of these communities.

Gerald Wille

Chairman, Oak Creek Water and Sewer Commission

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