A 10-year wholesale power contract between Wisconsin Electric Power Co. (WEP) and the City of Geneva, IL, is raising eyebrows in Wisconsin. The result of competitive bidding, the contract sets rates some 20 percent below what the city paid WEP under a 1985 contract. WEP will pay $1 million to Geneva for an electric substation. In addition, WEP will pay economic development discounts of up to 6 percent of electric costs for customers that want to leave Geneva or relocate to the city.
The Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin (MEUW) are protesting the contract because WEP has given Geneva discounts and other incentives far beyond those received by any other Wisconsin city; first-year prices fall 40 percent below what most Wisconsin municipals pay for electricity. MEUW executive director Dave Benforado feels that WEP should have made such offers to instate municipalities: "This is exactly what we've predicted will happen under retail wheeling (em big out-of-state customers getting breaks on Wisconsin's energy while Wisconsin's small business customers get taken for granted."