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Commission to consider allowing utilities to charge more to cover pension losses

Should you have to pay higher electric rates because your utility's pension fund is dwindling?

The state Public Service Commission says it will consider that question next year, but not now.

On Wednesday, the panel rejected Madison Gas and Electric's request to jack up rates to make up for $2.5 million it lost in the money it saves for its retirees.

PSC chairman Eric Callisto says we're all feeling the loss of pension funds, not just utility employees.

But he says it's an issue that will need to be addressed, because it's "a once-in-a-lifetime crisis."

The commission agreed to let Madison Gas and Electric ask for higher rates next year to cover lost pension money.

Callisto says it will probably also be a part of upcoming rate hike requests for Wisconsin Public Service of Green Bay and Wisconsin Power and Light of Madison.

We Energies says pension costs could also play a small role in its next rate hike request in the spring.