Walker’s PSC Pitches Shutout for Wisconsin Utilities Against Public and Environment


Madisonians received a Thanksgiving greeting by Governor Scott Walker today in the form of increased monthly electric rates and reduced incentives for conserving on electricity in their homes. The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC), with two of its three commissioners appointed by Governor Scott Walker, granted its approval to the private utility Madison Gas & Electric’s (MG&E) proposal to significantly increase the monthly fixed charges its customers must pay, and its request to reduce the monetary benefits customer’s will save by conserving more on their power use.

This is the third major utility monopoly in the state to be granted such an approval by the state’s chief energy regulatory agency. Please see November 18, 2014 post “Public Service Commission of Wisconsin Doing Public a Disservice” for details on PSC’s approvals of the other two utilities’ requests (one for We Energies Corporation and the other for the Green Bay area Wisconsin Public Service Corp..

Despite PSC being given the mission “to protect the environment, the public interest and the public health and welfare of Wisconsin citizens” in its decisions, the Governor Walker’s appointed PSC commissioners Phil Montgomery and Ellen Nowak voted to make it more of a financial hardship for low income families and individuals to pay their energy bills. Eric Callisto, a Governor Doyle appointee to the Commission, voted no to all three utility proposals, which will also have negative impacts on everybody in the form of faster global warming and climate change because they slow the payback on residents of the state who invest in solar panels thus conserving on fossil fuel burning.

The MG&E decision will more than double the monthly fixed rate for Madisonians, from $10.50 a month to $19, while decreasing the charge for kilowatt-hour of power used. The increase is similar to two other two state utilities the PSC has already approved, one for the Wisconsin Public Service Corp., the other for We Energies.

As reported in Thursday’s issue of the Wisconsin State Journal, Callisto chastised fellow commissioners Montgomery and Nowak for supporting the new rate structure, saying they have ignored the comments of 1,100 people (including testimony) who have submitted comments urging the PSC to reject the MG&E plan, including people from the cities of Madison, Middleton and Monona, and other in Dane County.

“Shame on us”, Callisto said. “We have plainly disregarded our opportunity to protect the public interest.”

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said “MG&E ‘s approved rate design is contrary to the city’s interests and will undermine energy conservation efforts, energy efficiency investments, and the newable energy investments in our community”, the State Journal reported.

Don Wichert, who helped organize RePower Madison, a citizens group opposed to the MG&E plan, said “our commission is now the worst commission in the country. It is clearly not the ‘public’ service commission”. the Wisconsin State Journal reported November 27th.

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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