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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 Lawniczak 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.

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.

UTILITIES TO REFUND $28.3M IN FUEL SAVINGS TO 1.3 MILLION CUSTOMERS

The Public Service Commission has ordered Alliant Energy, Xcel and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation to return about $28.3 million to customers in September. Madison Gas and Electric will be allowed to retain about $1.5 million in customer funds while it negotiates with customer advocates on rates for the next two years.

The investor-owned utilities collected an extra $29 million in 2019 as lower natural gas prices, renegotiated contracts and market sales resulted in fuel costs that were lower than forecast.

Under state law, actual fuel costs can vary up to two percent from the estimates: if actual costs fall below the threshold, utilities must refund the difference, plus interest; if actual costs go above, utilities can collect it from ratepayers.

We Energies, the state’s largest utility, reported actual costs were less than one percent below forecast, meaning the company can retain the $6.3 million difference. The utility has asked for a rate increase, saying it needs to collect about $26.5 million more in 2021 to cover the rising cost of electricity from the Point Beach nuclear plant.

Based on the utilities’ projected September sales, residential customers of Xcel would see the largest refunds, about $13 on average. Average residential refunds would be around $8.50 for Alliant customers and $4.70 for WPS customers.

TARIFFS DELAY ONE OF WISCONSIN’S FIRST LARGE- SCALE SOLAR FARMS

Construction of one of Wisconsin’s first large-scale solar farms could be delayed because of pending tariffs on imported solar panels. Madison Gas and Electric and We Energies had notified state regulators of plans to push back the startup date for the 150-megawatt project, known as Badger Hollow II, until December 2022 in order to stay within the approved $195 million budget.

The utilities said the delay was needed to allow the developer, Invenergy, to manage acquisition of hundreds of thousands of solar panels, which could soon be subject to a 20% import tariff if the Trump administration is successful in withdrawing an exemption for “bifacial” panels. Such panels use glass backing to capture additional sunlight reflected off the ground.

WE ENERGIES AND WISCONSIN GAS PROPOSE $370 MILLION PROJECT

A plan to build a plant in southern Wisconsin that would store liquefied natural gas is moving forward, according to documents filed with the Town of Ixonia Plan Commission. We Energies and Wisconsin Gas are seeking approval to build the plant on 164 acres in the town near Hill and North roads. The planned permanent facilities on the Ixonia property would cover 27 acres, according to We Energies. 

The two utilities, which have 1.1 million customers, have proposed building liquefied natural gas storage plants in Jefferson County and in Bluff Creek in Walworth County. The two plants are projected to cost a total of $370 million and would store natural gas at temperatures of 260 degrees below zero.

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WE ENERGIES FOUNDATION DONATES TO ‘”REBUILD AND REVITALIZE MILWAUKEE”

We Energies and its parent company, WEC Energy Group have announced they will make a $100,000 donation to help local businesses that sustained damage during recent protests. The grant money will be provided by the We Energies  Foundation to the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) Community Foundation’s Rebuild and Revitalize fund.

The Rebuild and Revitalize program provides grants to affected business owners to fund repairs, replace inventory and meet other needs. These include businesses in the Martin Luther King Drive, Harambee, Sherman Park and Near South Side neighborhoods.

XCEL ENERGY PROVIDES NONPROFIT GRANTS

The Xcel Energy Foundation has awarded nearly $320,000 to sixty-three nonprofits in Wisconsin and Michigan to help provide funding for critical programs in their communities. This represents in increase in giving by the Xcel Energy Foundation to support existing nonprofit partners that are facing difficulties during the pandemic. Earlier this year, in response to Covid-19, the Foundation also provided funds to organizations that address food insecurity “At Xcel Energy we’re doing our part to support our customers and communities during this very challenging time,” said Mark Stoering, President, Xcel Energy-Wisconsin and Michigan. “Our mission is to provide our customers safe, clean, reliable energy services, but we also know that the quality of life in our communities is equally important to their continued success.”

PSC LIFTS MORATORIUM ON UTILITY DISCONNECTIONS

Customers who fall behind on their utility bills will soon face late fees and the prospect of having their power shut off after three months of government protection during the coronavirus pandemic. The Public Service Commission has voted unanimously to lift a moratorium on disconnections and other penalties that was put in place following executive orders issued by Gov. Tony Evers in March. Utilities will be allowed to send disconnection notices beginning July 15 to customers who are behind on their bills and have not worked out payment plans. Those customers could see power turned off as soon as July 25.

ALLIANT ENERGY OPENS NEW NATURAL GAS GENERATING STATION

The newly built West Riverside Energy Center near Beloit, Wisconsin, has officially put into service its 730-megawatt, combined-cycle, natural gas system, generating energy for customers of Alliant Energy. “We are proud to put our West Riverside Energy Center into service to provide reliable and affordable energy to our customers and communities,” according to David de Leon, President of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin energy company. “Community support, strong partnerships, and hard work by countless employees, contractors, and suppliers made this a successful project. We appreciate the collaboration we have with the neighbors, the town and city of Beloit, Rock County, the state of Wisconsin, and the many other organizations, businesses, and individuals who continue to support this facility.”

WE ENERGIES DOWNTOWN BUILDING SUSTAINS MAJOR RAIN DAMAGE

Heavy rains have caused a major headache for We Energies. The company issued the following statement: “Heavy rain has caused flooding in parts of our steam system in Downtown Milwaukee – creating large steam plumes in parts of downtown. We are investigating a steam system outage that is impacting some customers.” We Energies officials say they don’t know what exactly caused the system of underground steam tunnels in downtown Milwaukee to be flooded with an unprecedented “tidal wave” of water during a major rainstorm. Not only did the steam outage leave hundreds of businesses without heat and hot water for several days, it did major damage to We Energies’ historic headquarters at North 2nd and West Michigan streets. “The estimate to repair is more than $10 million and may take as long as two months before we can reopen the building,” We Energies spokesman Brendan Conway said.