Xcel energy says a proposed rate hike could increase its Wisconsin residential customers bills by almost $5 a month if approved.
The increase would raise the fixed monthly customer charge to $4.73, or about 16 cents more a day.
According to the energy company, the increase is a result of updates in infrastructure and it would be the first time its raised the fixed monthly charge since 2006.
Energy consultant Ben Paulos disagrees.
"Changing that structure so that everybody pays a higher mandatory rate will be an incentive to use more energy and not conserve energy," he said. "It's definitely a disincentive to produce your own energy like solar power."
But Xcel says renewable energy users won't be adversely affected anymore than the average customer with the rate increase.
'Renewable energy users are not treated any differently than all other users under this proposal," Don Reck, Regional V.P. of Xcel, said. "About 80 percent of a customer's average bill is based on how much energy they use, so we continue to encourage energy efficiency measures and renewable energy use."