State low-income assistance fee
Since 2000, customer bills have included a line item called state low-income assistance fee. The fee is a fixed charge assessed only to your electric bill and is capped at a certain rate, depending on customer class.
Reason for charge
Wisconsin Act 9 transferred responsibility for administering and expanding public benefits programs from public utilities to the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Administration (DOA). We collect the charge for the DOA’s Utility Public Benefits Fund, which is used for energy assistance programs for low-income households. Programs include bill payment assistance for income-qualified households, weatherization and early identification and prevention of energy crises.
Adjustments to charge
DOA reviews the fee once a year and makes changes based on a formula that factors in the needs of low-income households in the state and whether or not current funding levels can satisfy those needs, along with funding the energy efficiency and renewable resource programs. Any changes take effect on July 1.
Effective July 1, 2016, the charge is the lower of the 3 percent of the total electric bill or the fee listed below:
|Customer class||Rate category||Rate per service line|
|Residential and farm||Rg1, Rg2, Fg1||$3.15/month|
|Small commercial nondemand||Cg1, Cg6, TssM||$10.69/month|
|Small commercial demand||Cg2||$10.69/month|
|Large commercial demand||Cg3, Cg3A, Cg3C, Cg3S||$31.29/month|
|General primary demand||Cp1, Cp3, Cp3A, Cp3S, Cp1R, Cp4, CPFN||$260.20/month|
Each customer is subject to a monthly limit of $750. If total public benefits charges for all electric metered services billed under one customer exceed $750 in any month, customers can apply for a refund. Call 800-714-7777 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday for more information.
The state low income assistance fee is not subject to sales tax.
Charge differences among utilities
All residential customers in Wisconsin (Rg1, Rg2, Fg1) have the same maximum amount per month for the nontaxable customer charge. Differences exist for other customers; however, the legislation states that the charge cannot vary within rate classes. Since each utility has different rate classes for their nonresidential customers and varying numbers of customers in each rate class, fees vary by utility.
Multiple accounts (cottage, business, residence, etc.)
All residential customers in Wisconsin pay the same monthly amount regardless of their electric utility, but differences occur between rate classes.
No customers, including low-income customers, are exempt from this charge.
The charge is subject to late payment charges. If a sufficiently large unpaid balance accumulates on a customer's account, the account may be subject to bill collection procedures and shut-off as for any other nonpayment. Utilities cannot cancel or waive the nontaxable customer charge.