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State regulators to decide if We Energies customers will pay for utility's legal bills


MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - State regulators will decide in the next few weeks whether electric customers in eastern Wisconsin will pay for a utility’s legal bills.

We Energies wants to raise its revenues by $242 million over the next two years. It would cost the average residential customer an extra $5 a month next year, and $3 additional in 2014.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quotes several audits showing that We Energies wants to pass on $34 million in legal fees. That includes $13 million connected with a legal battle after the federal government missed a deadline to open the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository in Nevada.

Records showed that We Energies made full-time payments to 3 Washington lawyers for a year on the matter. The Citizens Utility Board, which represents customers, says it’s hard to believe such high legal costs were incurred in such a short time.

But We Energies notes that it won the 11-year-old case – and it’s why electric rates did not go up for customers this year.

We Energies is based in Milwaukee, and it serves over a million electric customers in metro Milwaukee and parts of eastern Wisconsin.