Capitalism at it's best! Utilities are government regulated monopolies, never forget that. They may be investor or private owned business like we are suppose to revere, but it's anything but a free market, and above all it wants to prevent a free market.
Wisconsin just approved a monthly fixed charge increase (some call it a connection charge) from $9 to $16 a month. Also they approved lowering the price per kilowatt used, and (there's more) increasing the fee if you have a solar panel and lowering the price they will pay you for excess energy they take off your investment into self reliance and energy security. Why all this raising and lowering at the same time?
This is to punish people who find ways to keep their own money through conservation, energy efficient bulbs and appliances. So, if your an old guy on a fixed income and found a way to send less to the power company, they just said "fuck you old fart you now owe us more than you been saving with your LED's, ha!
This shift from charging what you use to a charge for just being alive has another target, wind farms. The lowest cost energy you can get now is new wind farms. But by lowering the Kwh rate it makes them "look" a little higher than they were, it doesn't change that coal and nukes are even higher but this is to take a little shine off. If winds lower charges are now a smaller percent of your overall bill then they will be less likely to lower the total won't they? So, a little accounting trick, ha!
Then there is the tax on solar. That's is what the Arizona, Utah and Nevada libertarian party calls these utility charges they stick on you if they spot a solar panel or you ask for a net metering connection. This is to make solar unattractive, because at the moment home owned solar is less than utility supplied power. I say use the libertarian argument, the sun that falls on my house is mine, and legislators should not be preventing competition or working for government regulated monopolies against home owners.
What can you do if these rate structures visit your wallet? It doesn't change the main fact, you can keep more of your money from Mr. Monopoly utility by conserving - an 11 watt bulb (yesterdays 60) will still pay for it's self in a couple of years, after that you save. Next time you buy a TV get the energy stingy one, my new TV (first in 15 years) uses $7 of energy a year (at 5 hr/day), some use 3 times that and cost the same. A architect friend of mine says you can wire part of your house as stand alone, run your solar panel/battery back-up to those rooms alone, they are off the grid, screw'm.
Wisconsin today, your state tomorrow. ALEC and the Utilities lobbies are behind this, to prevent a free market in energy, to empty your wallet, to keep us tied to fossil fuels. Oh, and if I lived in Wisconsin, I would be in front of my state legislator asking him why he thinks my sun shine belongs to the power company, and I would be shopping for insulation, a water heater jacket, and more LED bulbs.