In 2006, the Wisconsin Legislature passed Act 141, which requires electric utilities to collect a fee from their customers to help fund low-income energy assistance programs. These funds are collected through the WI Low-Income Assistance Fee — previously known as the Non-Taxable Customer Charge — and then transferred to the Wisconsin Department of Administration to assist low-income customers.

Answering Your Questions...

Like many of our customers, you may have questions about the WI Low-Income Assistance Fee. We've gathered many of the questions people have asked here, in one place. We hope this information is helpful.

If your question is not answered here, or if you'd like more information, please contact us.

How much of the WI Low-Income Assistance Fee does WPS keep?
WPS doesn't keep any of the money collected through the WI Low-Income Assistance Fee. It passes the funds on to the Wisconsin Department of Administration in Madison to fund low-income energy assistance programs.

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Is some of the money collected used for utilities' uncollectible accounts?
The fund is used as part of a comprehensive low-income assistance program, along with the other programs that are already in place by utilities, to help qualified customers pay their electric bills. If the state is successful with its efforts, utilities should experience lower uncollectibles.

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Is it possible the fee will ever change or end?
Yes. The Department of Administration determines annually whether the amount is adequate or should be increased or decreased.

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Why is the Department of Administration collecting a fee through the utilities?
Because utilities have collection mechanisms in place, the Wisconsin Legislature thought it would be efficient for utilities to collect these dollars from their customers and transfer the money to the Department of Administration. The department administers the low-income energy assistance programs on a statewide basis.

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Is the charge the same from utility to utility?
For residential customers, the Department of Administration determined a standard, statewide, maximum charge.

For non-residential customers, the charge varies based on the number of customers, energy prices and customer classification differences between utilities.

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Do all WPS customers pay the same amount?
No, the fee is different based on the type of electric service you receive. For example, large industrial customers pay more than residential customers.

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How is the fee calculated?
Residential customers pay the lower of these options:
  1. An amount equal to 3% of their total pre-tax electric bill, or
  2. $3.15 per month, which is the maximum monthly charge a residential electric customer would pay, as determined by the Department of Administration.
The maximum charge for each customer group does not vary from month to month, but the amount the customer is charged may vary from month to month, depending on electric consumption. Using the rates and maximum fee above, the customer reaches the 3% cap at about 720 kWh. Any time the customer's consumption is below this level, the charge on the bill will be lower.

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What are the maximum amounts for other types of customers?
Customers pay the lower of these charges:
  • For business customers on the Cg-1, Cg-2, Cg-5, Cg-3 OTOU, Cg-4 OTOU or Cg-S1 rates, the maximum charge per month added to your electric bill is $13.20.
  • For business customers on the Cg-20 or Cg-RR rates, the maximum charge per month added to your electric bill is $36.89.
  • For business customers on the CCp, Cp Next Day or Cp-RR rates, the maximum charge per month added to your electric bill is $152.81.

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Does the fee appear all year-round?
Yes, it's included on your electric bill every month.

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What if I'm a seasonal customer?
You will see double the fee during the six months you receive a bill.

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If I have more than one meter, am I charged more than once?
Yes. Every meter with a Customer Charge, whether residential, farm, commercial or industrial, has the WI Low-Income Assistance Fee. If you have multiple meters with multiple Customer Charges, you will be charged the fee that corresponds to the rate assigned to each meter.

The Department of Administration has developed a process so customers can apply for a refund if their total public benefits charges for the month for all of their metered electric services exceeds $750. Call 800-450-7260 for more information or to begin the refund process.

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Am I going to see an additional fee for my gas meter?
No. The fee is on your electric bill only. There are no plans to assess a charge related to gas.

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If I'm low-income, can I be exempted from the fee?
No. The fee was mandated by the Wisconsin Legislature. If you are having difficulty paying your bill and think you may qualify for low-income assistance, you can contact WPS at 800-450-7260.

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Where can I get more information about the WI Low-Income Assistance Fee and the programs the funds support?
More information is available from:
  • Wisconsin's Energy Help Initiative: 800-522-3014
  • Wisconsin's Home Energy Assistance Program: 866-432-8947 (866-432-HEATWIS)
Please note that financial assistance resources differ by country. For more information visit http://psc.wi.gov/apps/financialasst/default.aspx.

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