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Kewaunee Nuclear Plant shutdown partially blamed for WP&L rate hike proposal

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The recent shutdown of the Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant is partially blamed for a proposed rate increase by Wisconsin Power and Light.

The Madison utility has asked the state Public Service Commission to approve a 1.9 percent jump in its electric rates for next year.

The Kewaunee plant shut down in May, as utilities now find it cheaper to buy power from plants fueled with natural gas. Also, Wisconsin Power and Light says it needs an extra $1 million to follow a federal EPA order to install new pollution controls at its power plants.

Power and Light says the proposed rate hike would have been larger, had the utility not overcharged customers by almost $12 million last year. Fuel costs for its power plants were lower than expected.

The Citizens Utility Board, which represents customers, says Power and Light should issue refunds right away – and if not, it should charge interest according to how long it holds the excess fuel revenues.

WP&L serves about 460,000 electric customers in southern and central Wisconsin.