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We Energies predicts $6 a month rise in electric bills

Electric bills will go up an average of $6 a month for customers of Wisconsin's largest utility.

The state Public Service Commission approved a rate increase Thursday for We Energies, and its 1.1 million customers in eastern Wisconsin.

But they won't pay nearly as much as what the utility had requested.

It will get $90 million in extra revenues, not even half of the $190 million it originally sought.

Officials say electric bills will go up about 4 percent starting Jan. 1.

Consumer groups urged the PSC not to allow a rate hike at all because of the recession.

And manufacturers asked the panel to cut $50 million from the utility's request to make up for lost revenues due to factories' lower usage of power during the recession.

But commissioner Lauren Azer said rates will rise sometime in the future to help fight global warming.

And she said future rate hikes will only be worse if the state delays the increases which are needed today.

We Energies also cited costs related to its new power plants as a reason for raising its rates.