Public Service Commission of Wisconsin Doing Public a Disservice


Wisconsin Public Radio reported last Friday (Nov. 14) that the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) has approved an increase in the fixed rate that customers of We Energies are charged on their electric bills.

We Energies, which is the largest utility in Wisconsin, will now be able to pay less for solar power it buys back from customers thanks to the decision by the Public Service Commission.

The PSC’s action means customers of We Energies will see the monthly, fixed part of their bills go up by nearly $7 a month. That means residential and small business customers will pay $16 for that portion of their bill.

PSC commissioner Ellen Nowak said the charges ensure everyone pays the same amount to hook up to the power grid, whether they are a large business, homeowner or apartment dweller.

“The charges we are approving today are fair,” said Nowak.

Commissioner Eric Callisto disagreed. He said hiking the fixed charge is a major disincentive for energy efficiency, and that the customers who will see the greatest increases in utility payments are those who use the least amount of energy.

That same argument was made by the group RENEW Wisconsin.

“That’s going to hurt low-use customers, whether they’re low-income, whether they’re seniors on fixed incomes, whether they’ve been using energy conservation to save energy — which is the message we’ve always sent as a state is a good thing,” said Tyler Huebner, the group’s executive director.

Huebner said RENEW Wisconsin is considering whether to appeal regulator’s decision to hike rates.

Three Wisconsin utilities have asked the PSC for increases in fixed rates. Last week, regulators approved another such a request by the Green Bay utility Wisconsin Public Service Corp. The PSC has yet to rule on the final request of the three, which was made by Madison Gas and Electric.

About Mike Neuman

Identical twin; Long-time advocate of protection of our environment; Married; Father to three sons; Grandfather to one granddaughter; Born and raised in Wisconsin; Graduate of University of Wisconsin; post graduate degrees in agricultural economics and Water Resources Management fro UWMadison; Former School Crossing Guard for City of Madison; Bike to Work for 31 years with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Retired from DNR in 2007; Biked to school crossing guard site 2 X daily for 7 years retiring in 2019; in addition to being an advocate of safeguarding our environment, I am also an advocate for humane treatment of animal, children, and people in need of financial resource for humane living. I am presently a Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Madison, Wisconsin. I oppose all long (>500 miles) distance travel (via fossil fuel burning) for nonessential purposes and all ownership of more than one home. I am opposed to militarism in any form particularly for the purpose of monetary gain. I am a Strong believer in people everywhere having the right to speak their minds openly, without any fear of reprisal, regarding any concerns; especially against those in authority who are not acting for the public good?in a timely fashion and in all countries of the world not just the U S.. My identical twin, Pat, died in June 2009. He was fired from his job with the National Weather Service despite having a long and successful career as a flood forecaster with the Kansas City National Weather Service. He took a new position in the Midwest Regional Office in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, Pat’s work for the NWS went sour after he began to see the evidence for concern about rising global temperatures shortly after relocating to Minneapolis, and how they appeared to effect of flooding on the Red River that flows out of Canada before entering the U.S. in North Dakota. . Pat and I conversed on a regular basis with other scientists on the Yahoo Group named “Climate Concern “ and by personal email. The NWS denied his recommendation to give his public presentation o n his research at the “Minneapolis Mall of America” in February 2000, which deeply affected h,im. I will h He strongly believed the information ought be shared with the public to which I concurred. That was the beginning of the vendetta against my brother, Patrick J. Neuman, for speaking strongly of the obligations the federal government was responsible for accurately informing the citizenry. A way great similar response to my raising the issue of too many greenhouse gases being emitted by drivers of vehicles on Wisconsin highway system, my immediate supervisors directed: “that neither global warming, climate change nor the long term impacts upon the natural resources of Wisconsin from expansion of the state highway system were to be any part of my job requirements, and that I must not communicate, nor in a memorandum to all the bureau, shall any person who works in the same bureau I do communicate with me, neither verbally on the phone, by email.

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