Conventional Rate Case Overview

Conventional Rate Case Process

Before a public utility can change its rates and begin billing customers using those rates, the utility must receive approval from the Commission.  If a utility is interested in more substantial changes to its rates, it should file an application for a Conventional Rate Case (CRC).Application Review and Audit → Revenue Requirement → Cost of Service and Rate Design → Public Hearing → Final Decision

​How do I file for a CRC?

  1. The utility requests a conventional rate case application form at Application to Increase Water and/or Sewer Rates.
  2. Commission staff emails the utility an Excel application file, preloaded with historical data from the utility's PSC Annual Reports.
  3. Utility completes the application and submits the Excel file to the PSC using the Electronic Records Filing System (ERF).

  4. Commission staff receives the application and assigns a Docket ID that is unique to the rate case.
  5. Utility staff subscribes to ERF.  The Commission only provides notification of official correspondence through ERF email notifications. In order to receive the notifications, the utility and its consultants must subscribe to the Docket ID or Utility ID.  To subscribe to a docket, go to ERF, and complete the EZ Subscription. For additional help subscribing, go to ERF User Manual (Page 17).
  6. Commission staff encourages the utility to solicit input from customers and municipal leaders early in the rate case process, including before submitting its application to the Commission. At a minimum, the utility should conduct its outreach before the Commission's public hearing.​

What are the steps for processing a CRC?

Most conventional water rate cases are typically undisputed and decided by the Administrator of the Division of Water Utility Regulation & Analysis (DWURA). The process below pertains only to rate cases that are undisputed and delegated to the Division Administrator. 

  1. ​​Application Screening 
    Commission staff screen the application to determine if the application is sufficiently complete.  If so, Commission staff send a status email to the utility/consultants with information on staff assignments and future process.  If an application is determined to be incomplete, Commission staff send an Incomplete Application letter to the Utility identifying additional information that is needed before the application can be accepted.
  2. The PSC issues a Notice of Proceeding.
  3. Data Request
    Commission staff initiates review of application and files questions specific to the application.  The standard response time for Utilities is two weeks.
  4. Revenue Requirement Exhibit
    Commission staff submits a revenue requirement proposal as an exhibit and files it on ERF.  The Utility typically has 5 days to review and respond if they agree with or dispute Commission staff's proposal.
  5. COSS/rate design Exhibit
    Commission staff submits a COSS/rate design proposal as an exhibit and files it on ERF.  The Utility typically has 5 days to review and respond if they agree with or dispute Commission staff's proposal.
    • If the Utility agrees with both exhibits, the case remains delegated and moves to the Public Hearing step described below.
    • If the Utility disagrees with either of the two exhibits, it should file a response on ERF within 5 days detailing the reasons for its disagreement.  Such cases may go to the full Commission.
  6. Public Hearing
    • The utility provides customer notification as required by Wis. Admin. Code § PSC 2.10.
    • The PSC issues a Notice of Hearing.
    • The PSC holds the public hearing:  Generally the hearing takes place virtually or by phone during normal business hours. More complicated cases may require pre-hearings and are often held in Madison or sometimes in the community.
    • The public has opportunity to offer written comments during the Commission's comment period on the case. Commissioners review all of the information collected in this process to determine if a rate increase is appropriate.
  7. Final Decision
    The Commission reviews all the information in the case record to determine if the proposed rate adjustment is appropriate and makes its final decision.
  8. Implementation of Rates
    • The utility files on ERF its notification to the Commission of the effective date for implementing new rates.
    • Commission staff prepares and e-mails new rate sheets for the utility's records.
    • The effective date of a rate order is the date the utility begins applying the new rates. To avoid the need to prorate bills, the Commission recommends the utility choose the effective date coincident with the date it reads meters.