Wisconsin News

Energy discounts in Wisconsin bill stir concern

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A bill to provide discounted power rates for manufacturers has critics questioning whether it favors large manufacturers at the expense of small businesses and homeowners.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/lFvGLo ) Republican lawmakers consider the discounts in a bill introduced by Rep. John Klenke of Green Bay to be an economic development tool.

The bill would expand a pilot program to offer a discount of up to $5 million over five years to Mercury Marine. It's part of a financial package that helped persuade the engine maker to stay in the state.

Dave Benforado runs Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin. He says everyone supports economic development, but this proposal would force small businesses to subsidize industrial customers.

Alliant Energy Corp. backs the bill. The company says the bill includes protections to limit the impact on other customers.

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