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Wisconsin Energy raises quarterly dividend

MILWAUKEE, July 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The board of directors of Wisconsin Energy Corporation (NYSE: WEC) announced today that it has decided to accelerate to the second half of 2013 the dividend action that was planned for the first quarter of 2014. 

As a result, the directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of 38.25 cents a share on the company's common stock.  This represents an increase of 4.25 cents a share in the quarterly dividend and raises the annual rate from $1.36 a share to $1.53 a share.  The dividend is payable Sept. 1, 2013, to stockholders of record on Aug. 14, 2013. 

This marks the 284th consecutive quarter—dating back to 1942—that the company will have paid a dividend to its stockholders.

"Today's action by our board of directors is underscored by the company's sound financial position and positive free cash flow," said Gale Klappa, chairman, president and chief executive officer.  "This marks yet another positive step toward making our dividend payout more competitive with our peers across the utility industry."

The board also reaffirmed a policy that targets a dividend payout ratio trending to 65-70 percent of earnings in 2017. 

"This policy is consistent with our key financial goals:  to maintain strong 'A' category credit ratings at our utilities and fund new investment opportunities without issuing additional shares of common stock," Klappa said.

The Wisconsin Electric board of directors today declared a quarterly dividend of 90 cents a share on the Preferred Stock, 3.60% Series, payable Sept. 1, 2013, to stockholders of record on Aug. 14, 2013.  The board also declared a quarterly dividend of $1.50 a share on the Six Per Cent Preferred Stock payable Oct. 31, 2013, to stockholders of record on Oct. 11, 2013.

Wisconsin Energy Corporation (NYSE: WEC), based in Milwaukee, is one of the nation's premier energy companies, serving more than 1.1 million electric customers in Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula and 1.1 million natural gas customers in Wisconsin.  The company's principal utility is We Energies.  The company's other major subsidiary, We Power, designs, builds and owns electric generating plants.

Wisconsin Energy (wisconsinenergy.com), a component of the S&P 500, has more than $14 billion of assets, approximately 4,500 employees and more than 41,000 stockholders of record.

Wisconsin Electric Power Co., doing business as We Energies, is a subsidiary of Wisconsin Energy Corporation. The company serves more than 1.1 million electric customers in Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula and more than 460,000 natural gas customers in Wisconsin. Visit the We Energies website at we-energies.com.

Forward-looking Statements
Certain statements contained in this press release are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  These statements are based upon management's current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the statements.  Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these statements.  Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements concerning management's expectations and projections regarding dividend payments, dividend payout ratios and other matters.  In some cases, forward-looking statements may be identified by reference to a future period or periods or by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "expects," "forecasts," "guidance," "intends," "may," "objectives," "plans" "possible," "potential," "projects," "should," "targets" or similar terms or variations of these terms.

Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in forward-looking statements.  In addition to the assumptions and other factors referred to specifically in connection with these statements, factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in any forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: general economic conditions; increased competition in the company's electric and gas markets, including retail choice and alternative electric suppliers, and continued industry consolidation; timing, resolution and impact of future rate and fuel cases and other regulatory decisions; availability of the company's generating facilities and/or distribution systems; varying weather conditions; catastrophic weather-related or terrorism-related damage; cyber-security threats; unanticipated changes in purchased power and/or fuel costs; environmental incidents; key personnel changes; inflation rates; customer growth and declines; customer business conditions, including demand for their products and services; energy conservation efforts; customers moving to self-generation; construction risks, adverse interpretation or enforcement of permit conditions by permitting agencies; restrictions imposed by financing arrangements and regulatory requirements on the ability of the company's subsidiaries to transfer funds to it in the form of cash dividends, loans or advances; current and future litigation, regulatory investigations, proceedings or inquiries; the impact of recent and future federal, state and local legislative and regulatory changes, including any new rules relating to greenhouse gas emissions; equity and bond market fluctuations and events in the global credit markets that may affect the availability and cost of capital; the investment performance of the company's pension and other post-retirement benefit trusts; the financial performance of the American Transmission Company; changes in accounting standards; foreign governmental, economic, political and currency risks; and other factors described under the heading "Factors Affecting Results, Liquidity and Capital Resources" in Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and under the headings "Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information" and "Risk Factors" contained in the company's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2012 and in subsequent reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company expressly disclaims any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE Wisconsin Energy Corporation

Brian Manthey (news media), 414-221-4444, brian.manthey@we-energies.com, or Colleen F. Henderson, CFA (analysts), 414-221-2592, colleen.henderson@wisconsinenergy.com