Michigan AG fights utility rate increase‏

Nick Rees Feb. 1, 2010, 2:56pm

Mike Cox (R)

LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) - Appearing before the Michigan Public Service Commission, state Attorney General Mike Cox on Monday proposed a reduction of Wisconsin Electric Power Company's $42.1 million rate hike by at least $18.8 million.

WEPCO first made the rate increase request from the Michigan Public Service Commission in July. The 33.3 percent electric rate increase, which includes a residential rate increase of 40.5 percent, would charge Michigan customers an additional $42.1 million.

"Working families and job makers across Michigan simply cannot afford this kind of rate increase," said Cox, who is running for governor. "Any rate increase must be looked at carefully, and I will continue to fight to lower rates for Michigan families."

The Public Service Commission will conduct hearings this week on the matter. Testimony has been filed by Cox that opposes the rate increase and he will present witnesses during the hearings.

An administrative law judge is expected to recommend a decision following the hearings with the Commission's final order to be issued by July 1.

The rate hike, if approved, would affect consumers in Michigan's Western Upper Peninsula, including Alger, Baraga, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Marquette, Menominee and Ontonagon counties.

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