ALLIANT PROPOSES STEADY RATES

In May, Alliant Energy submitted a proposal to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) requesting to keep its rates steady into 2021. Recently, the PSCW approved the plan. It continues the company’s ongoing efforts to maintain rates that are among the lowest in Wisconsin. The approval of the plan provides customers with certainty – at a time when so many things are uncertain – during the ongoing pandemic. Alliant believes keeping rates steady is the sensible approach. The company also continues to support customers by providing flexibility in payment arrangements. With guidance from the PSCW, service disconnections were suspended until October 1.

2020 WUI VIRTUAL ANNUAL MEETING OF MEMBERS

Thank you to everyone who virtually attended this year’s WUI Annual Meeting of Members. Your board of directors appreciates you taking time to join us. The board is also grateful to all members who participated in the proxy vote by either mailing-in or submitting your votes on-line. The COVID -19 pandemic of 2020 has pushed us into our homes and into an unknown, ever-changing virtual world. WUI is grateful for your support, voice, and participation.

Chairman of the Board, Roger Cole, led this year’s virtual Annual Business meeting. Roger announced the results from the proxy vote for the Annual Meeting: the acceptance of the 2019 Board minutes; Jeff West and Roger Cole were re-elected to the board of directors; and election of Connie Lawniczek and Gregory Bollom to the Board of Directors. Following Kenyon Kies’ treasurer’s report, Executive Director James Buchen presented the 2019-2020 legislative update.

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XCEL ENERGY LAUNCHES NEW EV CHARGING PROGRAM

Xcel Energy is launching a new electric vehicle program for business customers that would simplify and significantly lower the cost to install EV charging equipment. Under the EV program, business and community customers have the option to purchase charging equipment from Xcel Energy, or they can choose to obtain their own charging equipment independently.

“Electric vehicles are a great opportunity for our business customers to save money on transportation costs,” said Mark Stoering, President Xcel Energy-Wisconsin. “Moving forward on EV programs not only benefits the EV owners, but everyone by reducing carbon emissions and air pollution.”

The program aligns with Xcel Energy’s vision to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels in the electricity provided to customers and to supply 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050.

“We are happy to be one of the first organizations to use Xcel Energy’s new electric vehicle charging programs,” said Pat Daoust, Manager, Bay Area Rural Transit (BART). “This program will significantly reduce our up-front costs to install the EV charging necessary to power our new EV buses and provide us long-term savings on our fuel and maintenance costs.” The BART System has routes that operate in 11 communities within three counties around the Chequamegon Bay Region (Northern Wisconsin on Lake Superior). BART expects to have its new bus in service in early 2021.

Businesses and municipalities have different types of fleet needs — from daily work operations to retail delivery functions. By replacing fossil-fuel vehicles with plug-in electric hybrid or all-electric options customers will see these added benefits:

  • Charge for the equivalent of less than $1 per gallon of gas
  • Avoid unpredictable swings in fuel costs
  • Reduce maintenance costs
  • Reduce carbon emissions on the road
  • Improve public and employee health
  • Enhance sustainability, credibility and image
  • Qualify for programs to lower the costs of EVs and charging equipment

DEMOCRAT LAWMAKERS SEEK REVIEW OF CARDINAL-HICKORY CREEK POWER LINE

Several lawmakers are calling on federal officials to reexamine the impacts of a power line on the Mississippi River and surrounding national refuge. In separate letters, Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin and Representative Ron Kind questioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s plans to grant an easement through the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge for the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line.

The high-voltage line will use 14 towers ̶ up to 20 stories high ̶ to carry wires along a 260-foot-wide corridor through the refuge from the Turkey River bottoms in Iowa to the site of a former power plant north of Cassville. The project would involve about 39 acres of the 240,000-acre refuge. Baldwin said her primary concern is the harm to migratory birds and that the chosen route does not minimize the impacts.

MGE PROPOSES ELECTRICITY RATE FREEZE, 4% NATURAL GAS HIKE

The utility filed an application Friday, October 28, with the Public Service Commission for a one-year rate structure that has the approval of consumer and renewable-energy advocates as well as one of the utility’s largest customers, though the Sierra Club plans to contest it, saying the rate freeze will simply result in bigger hikes down the road.

If approved, the deal is expected to cost the average household about $27 a year more for gas. MGE is proposing to use 2019 fuel savings — which normally would be refunded to customers — and to put off collection of some expenses until 2022 to offset the need for an electric rate increase next year.

XCEL ENERGY SENDS HELP WITH HURRICANE LAURA POWER RESTORATION

Xcel Energy sent employee and contracting crews to areas hit hard by Hurricane Laura to help restore power to the 670,000 customers without electricity following the devastating storm. About 250 Xcel Energy employees and contractors from Wisconsin, Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico and Texas were sent to Louisiana. The company sent line workers along with support and safety staff after receiving the call for mutual assistance. Crews were initially assigned to Entergy Louisiana and Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCo), an AEP company. 

“We wanted to assist the people affected by Hurricane Laura and are honored to be part of this restoration effort,” said Larry Crosby, senior vice president, distribution operations-Xcel Energy. “This is a massive undertaking with extensive
damage, but our crews are ready to bring power back on safely. It’s what we would do for our own customers and we wanted to deliver that same quality of service to the people of Louisiana.”

AWARDS: October 2020

WPS FOUNDATION AWARDS $50,000 TO EVERYDAY HEROES THROUGH REWARDING RESPONDERS GRANT
The Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) Foundation is supporting first responders who keep their communities safe every day. The foundation is providing a total of $50,000 through its Rewarding Responders Grant to 27 emergency response agencies throughout its service area. Some of the agencies receiving grants this year include:

  • De Pere Fire Rescue Department — new water rescue suits.
  • Menominee Police Department — a vehicle transport system for the department’s first K-9 officer.
  • Merrill Fire Department — Versatile protective clothing for firefighters during rescue operations.
  • Tomahawk Fire Department — new automated external defibrillators (AEDs)
  • Town of Wilson/Black River Fire Department — a multi-gas detection meter to alert firefighters to the presence of hazardous gases.

ALLIANT ENERGY ONCE AGAIN A TOP UTILITY IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Alliant Energy has been named a Top Utility in Economic Development by Site Selection magazine. The annual list recognized the company for its contribution to community development, job creation and partnerships with institutions of higher learning in the territories the company serves. For the second year in a row, Alliant Energy is the only Iowa energy company to make the list.

PEOPLE: October 2020

XCEL ENERGY ELECTS NEW BOARD MEMBER
Patricia L. Kampling brings four decades of experience in the energy industry, having recently retired from her role as Chairman and CEO of Alliant Energy Corporation in Madison, Wisconsin. Prior to that, she held leadership roles at Exelon Corporation and the former IPSCO Corporation.

Pat joined Alliant Energy in 2005 as Vice President of Finance and was named Chief Financial Officer in 2009. In 2011, she was named President and Chief Operating Officer and, in 2012, she assumed the role of Chairman and CEO, a position she held until her retirement in July 2019.

Under her leadership, the company achieved financial and operational objectives while also obtaining creative and constructive regulatory outcomes. Pat also guided the company on its journey toward a cleaner, smarter energy future, while ensuring the 1.5 million customers Alliant serves had access to a more resilient energy grid and a diverse,  sustainable energy mix.

“Pat not only brings a wealth of experience to Xcel Energy, she also shares our vision of leading the clean energy transition, while keeping service reliable and customer bills low,” said Ben Fowke, chairman and CEO of Xcel Energy. “Additionally, Pat joins us in our commitment to workforce development and to diversity and inclusion. It’s a great match and we look forward to welcoming her to our Board of Directors.”

DIVIDENDS: October 2020

XCEL ENERGY BOARD DECLARES DIVIDEND ON COMMON STOCK
The Board of Directors of Xcel Energy has declared a quarterly dividend on its common stock of 43 cents per share. The dividends are payable October 20, 2020, to shareholders of record on September 15, 2020.

2020 Annual Membership Meeting

Thank you to everyone who virtually attended this year’s WUI Annual Meeting of Members. Your board of directors appreciate you taking time to join us. The board is also grateful to all members who participated in the proxy vote by either mailing-in or submitting your votes on-line. The COVID -19 pandemic of 2020 has pushed us into our homes, and into a unknown and always learning virtual world. WUI is grateful for your support, voice, and participation.

Chairman of the Board, Roger Cole, led this year’s virtual Annual Business meeting. Roger announced the results from the proxy vote for the Annual Meeting: the acceptance of the 2019 Board minutes; Jeff West and Roger Cole were re-elected to the board of directors; and election of Connie Lawniczek and Greggory Bollom to the Board of Directors. Following Kenyon Kies’ treasurer’s report, Executive Director James Buchen presented the 2019- 2020 legislative update.

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ALLIANT ENERGY ANNOUNCES ACCELERATED SUSTAINABILITY GOALS

Alliant Energy has released its 2020 Corporate Responsibility Report (CRR) highlighting their purpose-driven strategy. The company’s purpose, to serve customers and build stronger communities, is supported by accelerating their sustainability goals and investing in the communities they serve. Alliant Energy’s new report highlights all aspects of the company’s Environmental, Social and Governance programs. It also includes a new aspiration for Alliant Energy to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050 from electricity the company generates and a new goal of eliminating all coal from its generation fleet by 2040. These goals are part of the company’s Clean Energy Vision which is highlighted in the report.

XCEL CONTINUES INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP WITH NEW CLIMATE REPORTING

Xcel Energy has released a new report providing an even more comprehensive view of its clean energy strategy and preparedness for managing the risks associated with climate change and the opportunities associated with clean energy. The report, which responds to the recommendations of the international Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, shows that the company’s clean energy strategy is well-suited to adapt to the risks of climate change and creates shareholder and customer value.

The Task Force’s framework asks organizations to report on four categories related to climate change including: governance, strategy, risk management, metrics and targets. It also recommends that companies develop a climate scenario analysis testing the resilience of their strategies. The company has signed on as an official supporter of the Task Force, one of only five U.S. based electric companies to do so.
Xcel Energy’s evaluation details climate-related disclosures important to investors and other stakeholders. The report shows the value of the company’s strategy of deploying renewable and other clean energy resources, building a more resilient energy grid and meeting the evolving needs of customers, all while keeping service reliable and bills low. It further reinforces Xcel Energy’s commitment to its vision to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity to customers by 2050 even as the COVID-19 pandemic forces businesses in the United States and around the world to reevaluate their strategies.

WEC ENERGY ACQUIRES OWNERSHIP IN TATANKA RIDGE WIND FARM

WEC Energy Group has announced that the company has agreed to acquire an eighty-five percent ownership interest in Tatanka Ridge Wind Farm under construction in Deuel County, South Dakota. The project is being developed by Avangrid Renewables, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Avangrid, Inc. Commercial operation is expected to begin by early 2021. The project has long-term offtake agreements for one-hundred percent of the energy produced with a multinational investment grade company and a well-established electric cooperative that serves utilities in multiple states. The Tatanka Ridge site will consist of fifty-six wind turbines with a combined capacity of 155 megawatts. WEC Energy Group’s investment is expected to total $235 million for the eighty-five percent ownership interest and substantially all of the tax benefits.

WEC ENERGY GROUP TO REACH “NET-ZERO” CARBON EMISSIONS BY 2050

WEC Energy Group, which owns We Energies, Wisconsin Public Service, released its Corporate Responsibility Report outlining plans to retire coal fueled units, build advanced technology natural gas units and invest in cost-effective, zero-carbon renewable generation in order to be carbon neutral by 2050. WEC announced in 2019 that it exceeded 40 percent by 2030, giving reason for its updated goal of 70 percent by 2030.

XCEL ENERGY ANNOUNCES SECOND QUARTER 2020 EARNINGS

Xcel Energy has reported 2020 second quarter GAAP and ongoing earnings of $287 million, or $0.54 per share, compared with $238 million, or $0.46 per share in the same period in 2019.

“Despite lower sales due to COVID-19, Xcel Energy achieved strong second quarter results primarily due to the positive impact of weather and cost management efforts. We are on track with our financial plan and are reaffirming our 2020 earnings guidance of $2.73 to $2.83 per share. However, we’ll continue to monitor and manage through the economic uncertainty of this pandemic,” said Ben Fowke, chairman and CEO of Xcel Energy.

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XCEL ENERGY’S NEW ELECTRIC VEHICLE VISION TO SAVE BILLIONS

Xcel Energy has announced its vision to drive toward powering 1.5 million electric vehicles in its service areas by 2030. As a result of this vision, EVs would make up twenty percent of all vehicles on the road in those areas, more than 30 times the number today, helping save customers billions of dollars in fuel costs, while significantly cutting carbon emissions from transportation.

By making it easy for more people to use EVs through new charging infrastructure and customer programs, the company’s vision will build the future of clean, affordable transportation in the eight states it serves. As drivers, ride-share companies, public transit and other fleet operators replace vehicles with EVs, they will see substantial savings on fuel, because driving electric is equal to spending about $1 per gallon of gas and can be significantly less when charging overnight. By 2030, an EV would cost $700 less per year to fuel than a gas-powered car, saving customers $1 billion annually. To make the company’s vision a reality, it will need the support of policymakers, manufacturers and other stakeholders.

WEC ENERGY SECOND QUARTER EARNINGS

WEC Energy Group has reported second-quarter earnings of $241.6 million. On a pershare basis, the Milwaukee-based company said it had net income of 76 cents. The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of three analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 69 cents per share. The electricity and natural gas provider posted revenue of $1.55 billion in the period. WEC Energy expects full-year earnings to be $3.71 to $3.75 per share. WEC Energy shares have increased three percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has increased slightly more than two percent. The stock has climbed slightly more than nine percent in the last 12 months.

MOREY FIELD SOLAR DELIVERING LOCALLY GENERATED CLEAN ENERGY

Madison Gas and Electric’s 5-megawatt Morey Field Solar array at Middleton Municipal Airport is fully operational and delivering locally generated, sustainable, carbon-free energy to the electric grid. Morey Field Solar is the second array in MGE’s popular Shared Solar program. The community solar program provides residential and business customers throughout MGE’s electric service territory an easy, convenient way to power their home or business with local solar.

Meet 2020 Board of Director Nominee: Connie Lawniczak

Connie Lawniczak began her career at Wisconsin Public Service in 1981 as a student employee in the Electric Distribution Department. Following her graduation from the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, she joined the Environmental Services Department. Connie held positions of increasing responsibility in the environmental group until becoming the Assistant to the President in 2004. At the end of this developmental position, she attended the Executive Education Program at the Harvard Business School and then was promoted to Director - Environmental Services. As the leader of the department, she was responsible for a staff providing environmental services to the entire Integrys organization in multiple states for both the regulated and unregulated businesses. Much of the group’s work was focused on air and water permitting/compliance for both generation and distribution operations and improving environmental performance corporate-wide. Her group was also responsible for shoreline and forestry management, hydroelectric licensing and compliance, solid and hazardous waste management, emergency planning and spill response, project construction permitting/compliance, remediation of historic sites, natural resources management, laboratory services, and auditing. In her role, she was responsible for environmental strategic planning, development of Company positions on proposed legislation and rules, and participation in negotiations with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Federal Regulatory Commission, and the Public Service Commission. She also facilitated the Environmental and Safety Committee of the Integrys Board of Directors. In 2014, Connie was promoted to Assistant Vice President - Environmental and Shared Services. In this role, she was responsible for assisting in the management of the corporate shared services organization and the transition services provided to the Upper Peninsula Power Company following Integrys’ sale of that utility.

Over the course of her 37 year career, Connie had many opportunities to work at the local, state, and national level on numerous environmental policies, programs, rulemakings, and legislation directly and as a member of committees at the Wisconsin Utility Association, Electric Power Research Institute, Edison Electric Institute, and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board and the Trees for Tomorrow Environmental Education Center. Following the acquisition of Integrys Energy by WEC Energy in 2015, Connie served as the Manager - Air Quality Services until her retirement in 2018.

Meet 2020 Board of Director Nominee: Gregory Bollom

Greg retired from Madison Gas and Electric Company in September 2020. At the time he retired, he was Assistant Vice President and Regulatory Consultant with responsibility for providing expert insight and research into regulatory and rate issues across the country. During his almost 38 years career at MGE his responsibilities included generation planning, transmission policy, electric and natural gas sales and revenue forecasting and electric and natural gas pricing. At the time he retired, Greg served as Co-Chair of the Edison Electric Institute Customer Solutions Executive Advisory Committee and as a member of its Electric Transportation Subcommittee. He also served on the Advisory Committee for the Critical Consumer Issues Forum, a collaboration of state utility commissioners, consumer advocates and electric utilities to address important consumer issues at the forefront of the energy policy debate, the Board of the Wisconsin Public Utility Institute, and the Advisory Council for the Center for Public Utilities at New Mexico State University.

Outside of work, Greg has been a longtime volunteer in the Destination Imagination (creative problem solving) program, a role he continues in his retirement.

Greg has a B.A. degree in economics from St. Norbert College and a M.S. degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin.