Electric utility customers can expect decrease

Corporate tax cuts responsible for some savings

Utility customers in Shawano and Clintonville can expect a decrease in utility rates starting in September, which they’ll see on their October electric bills, partly thanks to corporate tax breaks passed in Congress last year.

While tax breaks given to private corporations might or might not trickle down to employees and customers, companies dealing with the private sector — such as wholesale suppliers of power — are required to pass those savings along.

The Badger Power Marketing Authority, where Shawano Municipal Utilities and Clintonville Water and Electric get their power, is reducing its electric rates starting next month by about 5 percent, according to SMU General Manager Brian Knapp.

Badger Power Marketing Authority is a partnership between the cities of Shawano and Clintonville started in 1984 as a way to join together and purchase wholesale electric power in larger contract blocks to save money for the electric customers of SMU and CWE.

“Our wholesale costs are going down 5 percent,” said Knapp, who is also general manager of the Badger Power and Marketing Authority.

Badger buys its power from Great Lakes Utilities, which buys power from the power producers themselves that benefited from the federal Tax Cuts and Job Creation bill.

“With the corporate tax cuts that went into effect, the power producers’ income tax has gone down and they have to pass those cost savings on to the wholesale customers,” Knapp said. “And we get to pass those on to our retail customers.”

The impact of the tax cuts has varied in the public sector, but, “in a regulated environment it’s working perfectly,” Knapp said.

While a “good share” of the savings is related to the tax cuts, Knapp said, about 2 percent of the savings is related to lower operating costs and increased sales volume.

Industrial customers that use a lot more power will see a bigger percentage decrease, but the average decrease for residential customers will be about $1.50 on their monthly power bill, Knapp said.

They will see those savings on their October bills for their power usage in September.

“We expect that to be sustainable through at least 2019,” Knapp said.