Gov. Tony Evers declared an energy emergency on Wednesday in preparation for power outages caused by downed trees and accumulating ice on power lines from the winter storm that swept through Wisconsin.
The deadly winter storm, christened Elliott by the Weather Channel, that tore through much of the United States over the Christmas weekend placed a huge strain on the American electric grid, pushing it past the breaking point in some places.
Rate hikes for electric and natural gas customers served by two of the state’s largest utilities were approved by Wisconsin utility regulators at the beginning of December.
A proposed rate increase by We Energies is facing pushback from community groups that say the Milwaukee utility is failing to meet its legal obligation to provide affordable power.
Alliant Energy is starting a new energy-saving program that the utility’s demand-side manager, Kari Gehrke, describes as “a simple way [for customers] to save money and reduce their carbon footprint at the same time.”