WI Low Income Assistance Fee (Public Benefits)
Frequently asked questions about the Wisconsin Low-Income Assistance Fee
Is some of the money collected used for utilities' uncollectible accounts?
The fund is used as part of a comprehensive low-income assistance program, along with the other programs that are already in place by utilities, to help qualified customers pay their electric bills. If the state is successful with its efforts, utilities should experience lower uncollectibles.
Is it possible the fee will ever change or end?
Yes. The Department of Administration determines annually whether the amount is adequate or should be increased or decreased.
How much of the WI Low-Income Assistance Fee does SWL&P keep?
SWL&P doesn't keep any of the money collected through the WI Low-Income Assistance Fee. It passes the funds on to the Wisconsin Department of Administration in Madison to fund low-income energy assistance programs.
Do all SWL&P customers pay the same amount?
No, the fee is different based on the type of electric service you receive. For example, large industrial customers pay more than residential customers.
How is the fee calculated?
Residential customers pay the lower of these options:
- An amount equal to 3% of their total pre-tax electric bill, or
- $3.15 per month, which is the maximum monthly charge a residential electric customer would pay, as determined by the Department of Administration.
The maximum charge for each customer group does not vary from month to month, but the amount the customer is charged may vary from month to month, depending on electric consumption. Using the rates and maximum fee above, the customer reaches the 3% cap at about 720 kWh. Any time the customer's consumption is below this level, the charge on the bill will be lower.
Does the fee appear all year-round?
If I have more than one meter, am I charged more than once?
Yes. Every meter with a Customer Charge, whether residential, farm, commercial or industrial, has the WI Low-Income Assistance Fee. If you have multiple meters with multiple Customer Charges, you will be charged the fee that corresponds to the rate assigned to each meter.
The Department of Administration has developed a process so customers can apply for a refund if their total public benefits charges for the month for all of their metered electric services exceeds $750. Call 800-450-7260 for more information or to begin the refund process.
Am I going to see an additional fee for my gas or water meter?
No. The fee is on your electric bill only.
Where can I get more information about the WI Low-Income Assistance Fee and the programs the funds support?
More information is available from:
- Wisconsin's Energy Help Initiative: 800-522-3014
- Wisconsin's Home Energy Assistance Program: 866-432-8947 (866-432-HEATWIS)
Wisconsin Home Energy Plus Program
Home Energy Plus includes the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) and Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). WHEAP provides assistance for heating costs, electric costs, and energy crisis situations.WAP helps renters and homeowners reduce their energy consumption. Operating with federal and state funding, the programs provide energy assistancepayments to approximately 211,000 households and weatherization services to over 6,000 households in Wisconsin each year.