Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) has filed an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) to decrease natural gas rates in 2015 and increase electric rates in 2015. Electric and natural gas rates would then be frozen in 2016.

The request decreases natural gas rates 2.3% in 2015 and would freeze rates at that level for 2016. If approved, the typical residential gas bill would go down $1.42 a month. The request would increase overall electric rates by 2.8% and would freeze rates at that level for 2016, subject to a review of fuel costs. If approved, the typical residential electric bill would increase by $2.53 a month.

The average combined residential gas and electric customer would see a total bill increase of $1.11 a month. The proposed changes would take effect Jan. 1, 2015.

MGE continues to make significant improvements to reduce emissions and improve generation efficiency while maintaining its cost containment program to control day-to-day operational costs.

The primary reasons for the electric rate request are:

Costs associated with the construction of emission-reduction equipment at the Columbia Energy Center near Portage, Wis., and

Costs associated with improvements to the state’s electric transmission system.

With this proposed rate decrease, MGE’s annual average natural gas rates will remain virtually unchanged since 2009. Over that same time, the average annual increase in electric rates has been 1.8%, while the Consumer Price Index has gone up an average of 2.1% per year.