Filtered by tag: Legislative Remove Filter

Bill Protecting the Energy Grid Under Consideration in the State Legislature!

BILL PROTECTING ENERGY GRID RETURNS TO THE STATE LEGISLATURE

Lawmakers in both chambers of the state Legislature have held hearings on a bill that is aimed at protecting Wisconsin’s power grid from becoming an inefficient patchwork of separate transmission line operators.

The bills were introduced in the state Senate last week by Senator Julian Bradley, R-Franklin; and in the Assembly by Representative Peterson, R-Waupaca. The bills would give the current transmission line companies in Wisconsin the right of first refusal (ROFR) to build new lines connecting to their existing infrastructure.

Read More

LEGISLATION MAINTAINS WISCONSIN CONTROL OVER TRANSMISSION SYSTEM

Recently introduced legislation (SB 481/AB 470) will allow Wisconsin utilities to maintain control over construction and operation of transmission infrastructure in this state. Without these bills, out of state investors will be allowed build and operate any new transmission lines which will not only harm investors but also consumers because a balkanized system will inevitably be more costly to build an operate.

Specifically, the bills provide a right of first refusal to incumbent transmission line owner/operators for any new transmission line projects. This will protect the current system which is owned and operated primarily by Xcel Energy and the American Transmission Company which, in turn, is owned by Alliant Energy, Madison Gas and Electric, WEC Energy Group and several Wisconsin municipal utilities.

Read More

FROM THE CAPITOL

WISCONSIN SENATE OVERRIDES THREE OF GOVERNOR’S VETOES
Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate have voted three times to override vetoes from Gov. Tony Evers, two of them partial vetoes that Evers made to the 2023-25 state budget. 
The override votes then go to the state Assembly, where the GOP is just two seats shy of the two-thirds majority needed to concur with the Senate and override. Any Assembly action is likely to have happened after press time for this Voice issue. 
The Senate voted along party lines 22-11 to override. Evers’ veto in the budget that authorized public school districts to raise their revenue limits by $325 annually for the next 400 years.  
Evers’ vetoed budget language that cut the income tax rate for households with incomes from $25,000 to $370,000. He had also vetoed SB-49, a bill to protect liquified gas retailers from government restrictions on their products and also to block state agencies and local governments from restricting utilities or discriminating against them based on their “type or source of energy.”

EVERS VETOES BILLS THAT WOULD HAVE PREVENTED LOCAL BANS ON ENERGY USE
Governor Tony Evers has vetoed several bills that would have prevented Wisconsin communities from barring the use of vehicles or appliances powered by fossil fuels. Two bills sought to prevent Wisconsin’s state and local governments from passing mandates that aim to shift away from vehicles or stoves that run on gas in favor of those powered by electricity.

Another proposal sought to prevent communities from requiring specific sources of energy.  Republican lawmakers and supporters have said the proposals aimed to protect consumer choice. In his veto message, Evers said signing the bills would diminish the state’s ability to combat climate change by shifting to new technology.

DAY AT THE CAPITOL THANK YOU!

Thank you to all the WUI Members who travelled by car or bus to the State Capitol on May 10th to represent more than 50,000 Wisconsin Utility Shareowners before 43 State Senators and Representatives. It was a beautiful day and the tulips around the state capitol were in full bloom. A special Thank you to the Chairman of the Utility & Technology Committee, Julian Bradley, who spoke to our group following lunch.

WISCONSIN GOVERNER'S PROPOSED 2023 BUDGET CONTAINS MANY UTILITY AND ENERGY RELATED ITEMS

Governor Evers' 2023 budget contains many utility related items below, if you have questions please contact WUI. 
  • Provides $10 million for “clean energy” job training and reemployment programs.
  • Requires the Public Service Commission to establish the social cost of carbon and requires the commission to consider the social cost of carbon when evaluating utility construction applications.
  • Allows utilities to securitize the entire remaining unpaid balance of a retiring power plant. Currently, only the unpaid balance of pollution control equipment may be securitized.
  • Establishes the Office of Environmental Justice to, in part, perform a climate risk assessment and create a resilience plan for state agencies.
  • Requires municipal comprehensive plans, local hazard mitigation plans and community health assessments to address the impact of climate change.
  • Provides $5 million GPR over the biennium to support a clean energy small business incubator.
  • Establishes the Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy and creates a one-time $4 million GPR clean energy grant program.
  • Provides $500,000 SEG over the biennium to create a biodigester planning grant program.
  • Creates a sales and use tax exemption for property used primarily to store or facilitate the storage of energy produced by a solar, wind, or biogas renewable energy system for an anticipated reduction in tax revenue of $4.2 million over the biennium.
  • Establishes a workgroup to develop a “stretch energy code” for Wisconsin.

It is likely many of these items will be removed or modified by the Legislature when it receives the Budget Bill.

GOV. EVERS APPOINTS SUMMER STRAND TO THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION OF WISCONSIN

Gov. Tony Evers has announced his appointment of Summer Strand to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC). The appointment fills a vacancy created by the resignation of Ellen Nowak, which was effective March 1. This appointment was effective March 2, 2023, for a six-year term expiring in 2029.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Summer on the State Building Commission for the past several years and I am confident that she will be an asset to the PSC and to the people of Wisconsin in this new role,” said Gov. Evers. “Having worked in several roles within state government and with trade and industry professionals alike, Summer will bring a depth of experience, dedication to service, and collaborative skills necessary to be successful at the PSC. I have no doubt she’ll serve the people of Wisconsin well as we continue building our workforce, economy, and state infrastructure for the 21st century.”

Strand has a long history of public service. Strand currently serves on the State of Wisconsin Building Commission (SBC), having been appointed by Gov. Evers in 2019 to serve as the sole citizen member of the commission.

STOP NON-REGULATED UTILITY OPERATIONS!

Legislative Issues

ACTION ALERT

Read More

ACT NOW! STOP NON-REGULATED UTILITY OPERATIONS!

Link to Comment on  Docket 9300-DR-105

Read More

ATC BACKS LEGISLATION ON RIGHTS TO TRANSMISSION EXPANSION

The American Transmission Company is urging Wisconsin lawmakers to pass legislation (Senate Bill 838 and Assembly Bill 892) that would provide a right of first refusal for incumbent transmission line owners when building new lines and maintain important Wisconsin based regulatory oversight over the approval process.

Without this legislation, new transmission line projects could be subject to a new, complex, and often contentious federal approval process that could lead to significant delays and loss of Wisconsin based regulatory authority. This legislation will ensure that we continue to have a Wisconsin focused approach to transmission line planning and approval.

The Wisconsin bill enjoys bipartisan support in the legislature including both Republicans and Democrats who sit on legislative committees that oversee utilities. It has attracted an unusual collection of opponents including environmental groups and Americans for Prosperity.

Most midwestern states have adopted similar legislation including Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan. WUI is supporting Senate Bill 838 and Assembly Bill 892 because any expansion of Wisconsin’s transmission infrastructure needs to continue to be based on Wisconsin’s needs and circumstances and be subject to PSC approval and oversight.

WUI LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

By James Buchen, WUI Executive Director

The Wisconsin Legislature began it’s 2021- 22 session in January and is currently in the middle of deliberations on the State Budget. The Budget, as introduced by Governor Evers in February, contains a number of energy related provisions that may be adverse to utility shareholder interests. Fortunately, the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee has voted to remove these provisions and they are unlikely to be included in the final version of the Budget which is expected to pass sometime in late June. 

Read More

WUI Testimony PSC: WEC and WI Gas

BEFORE THE  PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION OF WISCONSIN

 Joint Application of Wisconsin Electric Power Company and Wisconsin Gas LLC for Authority

Read More