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The Power to Make Our Community Better

Electric power is a fundamental need of every business and every family in our community.

A Wisconsin state law recognizes this need. Under this law, all electric utility customers in Wisconsin have a nontaxable charge added to their monthly bills. The typical residential customer of New Richmond Utilities pays a “Public Benefits Charge” of about $1 per month, on average.

Funds are dedicated to energy programs that benefit the public. A portion of the funds will be used for energy efficiency and conservation programs open to all customers. A portion will be used for home weatherization programs and other initiatives to help qualifying households afford the energy they need.

Best of all, every dollar stays in the community. As your locally owned and operated utility, we’ll make sure these funds are used in ways that make a difference – to you, your neighbors and our overall quality of life right here at home.

Public Benefits funding gives us the power as a community to protect families, local businesses and our environment. It’s not just the law. It’s the right thing to do.

Are all electric utilities in Wisconsin treated the same way under this program?

Not entirely. Municipally owned and operated utilities, along with electric cooperatives, were given the option of keeping the Public Benefits funds we collect in our own communities. This is in recognition of the fact that we are locally owned and operated, and should therefore have the right to administer our own programs. Investor-owned utilities, on the other hand, are required to turn over all funds they collect to the Department of Administration (DOA) for distribution statewide.

The fact is, you are not just a customer of New Richmond Utilities you are also an owner. State lawmakers recognize this fact. That is why they gave us the opportunity to keep our money here and provide our own, locally based programs.

How much is the Public Benefits Charge, and how does it appear on my bill?

The typical residential customer of New Richmond Utilities pays a “Public Benefits Charge” of about $1 per month, on average. Commercial and industrial customers pay a charge as well. The charge appears as a separate line item on your bill and is identified as the “Public Benefits Charge.” It is nontaxable.

How are the Public Benefits Program funds used in the community?

By law, 50 percent of the funds go to income-based programs that help qualifying households afford the energy they need. The other half funds energy conservation programs designed to lower electric power costs and increase efficiency, with all residential, agricultural and business customers eligible for the benefits.

We currently offer the following programs:

  • Appliance Replacement Program
  • Central Air Tune-Up Discount
  • Customer Credit Program
  • Efficiency Improvement Incentive
  • Energy Star Bulb Giveaway
  • Energy Star Partners
  • LED Exit Sign Promotion
  • National Theatre for Children
  • Tree Power Cash Rebate
  • Wisconsin Energy Star Homes

Besides lowering energy costs for participants, are there other benefits to the program?

The Public Benefits Program offers many benefits for our customers, our community and society in general. Here are just a few:

  • The program can reduce the total amount of electricity purchased for our community. We pay wholesale electric rates based in part on the total power resources needed to meet peak demand. If we can reduce this demand through energy efficiency programs, we lower the wholesale power rates we pay and, in turn, reduce your electric bill.
  • The efficient use of energy preserves the environment by delaying the need to construct new generating facilities and making the best use of existing power capacity.
  • Commercial and industrial users of electric power will have a greater ability to keep costs down, compete in their respective markets and employ more workers.
  • When families are better able to afford electric power, they can increase spending on other goods and services in the community. This is good for the local economy.
  • Most important, a community that takes care of all its citizens is a better place to live and work. It all comes down to quality of life.