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PSC approves freezing electric rates for Madison residents

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Folks in the Madison area will not have to budget for higher electric bills next year.

The state Public Service Commission has endorsed a proposal by Madison Gas and Electric to freeze its rates for 2014.

Those customers pay the highest rates of Wisconsin’s five major investor-owned utilities – just over $94 a month for 600 kilowatt hours.

Officials said Madison Gas and Electric overbilled customers for fuel costs last year, when it had $6 million in savings. Those savings will offset rising costs for a coal-fired power plant it owns with two other power firms.

Commission chairman Phil Montgomery says electric customers need a break from rising rates, in light of the slow economic recovery. He said three other large utilities have had rate freezes in recent years, and it’s Madison’s turn.

The PSC said Madison Gas and Electric will still get a rate of return of just over 10 percent – the same return that’s been in place since last year.

The utility says its rates for natural gas will also stay unchanged next year.