Wisconsin commission wants update on rail coal costs

Staff at the Wisconsin Public Service Commission has given four utilities a June 8 deadline to answer a series of questions about coal transportation costs dating back to 2009.

The May 17 letter was sent to Wisconsin Power and Light Co., Wisconsin Public Service Corp., Northern States Power Co.–Wisconsin and Wisconsin Electric Power Co. The letter noted that the commission began this investigation of coal transportation costs in 2006, with the utilities providing responses in 2006 and 2009.

“Because of continued interest in coal shipping costs and the related impacts on electricity rates in Wisconsin, Commission staff requests that your utilities update their responses to the list of questions asked in the February 3, 2009, follow-up letter,” said the letter. “Those questions are attached. Please respond to all of the questions. Some of the questions are expected to be treated confidentially in a manner similar to the information filed in 2009. Please file your responses using the Commission’s Electronic Regulatory Filing system by Friday, June 8, 2012.”

The questions are:

  • document rail delivery charges for coal, by power plant, for the years 2009 through 2011, including both the total dollars paid for delivery charges as well as dollars per ton;
  • detail whether the rail delivery charge for coal was determined by a contract or by rail tariff;
  • document the portfolio cost of coal burned, by power plant, for the years 2009 through 2011, including the total dollars paid for coal, dollars per ton, and dollars per MMBtu;
  • document the most recent cost of coal by power plant for new contracts signed from 2010 through the present, with that data to include the dollars per ton, dollars per MMBtu, the volume contracted, and the effective dates of the new contracts; and
  • document average cycle times for Powder River Basin coal deliveries (trains per week or comparable units) for each power plant by year for the years 2009 through the present.
About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.