Announcing the WUI 2017 Day at the Capitol! Registration Now Open.

 

 

 


Click Here to Register


You’re Invited to
Get Plugged In!

This is your opportunity to let your representatives know what is important to you as a Utility Investor! You will hear from legislative leaders about the current issues affecting your investments, have opportunities to meet with your representatives at the Capitol, and share lunch with your fellow WUI members at the newly renovated Park Inn Hotel (formerly Inn on the Park).

AGENDA:
9:30 am Registration
10:00 am Meeting  & Guest Speaker
11:15  am Scheduled Legislative Meetings
12:30 pm Lunch
12:45 pm Luncheon Speaker
1:20 pm Wrap up & Home

INVITED GUEST SPEAKERS:
Governor Scott Walker
Commissioner Mike Huebsch

YOUR DAY AT THE CAPITOL:
You can drive to Madison or ride one of the comfortable coach buses provided by WUI.  (Click on registration link to learn more.)
Valet parking is available
at the Inn on the Park.

 

Legislative Update

The 2017-18 Legislature convened its first regular session in January of this year.
In February, Governor Walker introduced his Biennial Budget proposal (AB 64/SB 30)
which governs the state’s taxing and spending for the next two years beginning in July
2017. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee has begun its review of the proposal
and the Budget is expected to occupy most of the Legislature’s time and attention until
the bill finally passes in late June.

Of significant interest to utility shareholders, legislation has been introduced by Senator
Stroebel and Representative Ott (SB 115) that will allow the Wisconsin Public Service
Commission (PSC) to retroactively modify or terminate, existing and previously approved,
leased generation contracts. Currently, under such contracts, public utilities are able to
lease electrical generating facilities from their affiliates. This type of financing arrangement
has been used in Wisconsin to facilitate the investment of billions of dollars in new generation
facilities in recent years.

Under current law, the PSC may modify or terminate such contracts only as specified in the
contract itself, or the original order approving the original contract. Under the provisions of
SB115, the Public Service Commission could unilaterally invalidate or modify these contracts
which could significantly impact a utilities rate of return and dividend payout.

The sponsors of the bill believe that modifying these existing contracts will force a
reduction in electric rates. However, the current rates are necessary to generate a fair rate
of return for utility shareholders based on the recent investments Wisconsin utilities have
made in new electric generation.

If this proposal makes investment in Wisconsin utility stock less attractive for many small
investors, it will become more difficult for Wisconsin utilities to raise the necessary capital
to maintain and upgrade our electrical system. In the long run, this hurts consumers
who will have to pay even higher rates to finance the additional borrowing and internally
generated capital needed to replace their equity investment.

Investors seeking stability and reliability have the choice of investing in a wide range
of electric utilities across the country. To the extent that Wisconsin utilities become a
less attractive investment option, shareholders can go elsewhere, while consumers in
Wisconsin are simply left with higher electric rates.

Wisconsin utilities, WUI and many key legislative leaders have already expressed concern
over this bill. You can add your voice of opposition by attending WUI’s Legislative Day in
Madison on May 24, 2017.

MGE PLANNING LARGE WIND PROJECT IN IOWA

Madison utility Madison Gas and Electric plans to build a $107 million, 66-megawatt wind
farm in Howard County, Iowa, that would become the company’s largest wind farm to
date. The project, known as Saratoga, will consist of 33-turbines on a 10-square-mile site
about 200 miles west of Madison. The site is well situated because of its strong winds and
proximity to transmission infrastructure. If approved, construction could begin in early
2018 and deliver enough electrical power for approximately 47,000 homes by the end
of 2018. The company said wind turbine technology has improved with larger turbines
producing energy more efficiently, making it a cost-effective, clean-energy option.

XCEL ENERGY AND FAA LAUNCH SAFETY PARTNERSHIP

Xcel Energy has announced a first-of-its-kind partnership with the Federal Aviation
Administration to research the safe operation of drone technology to inspect critical
infrastructure. The agreement involves using unmanned aircraft systems to inspect more
than 20,000 miles of Xcel Energy transmission lines in 10 states. The data collected from
diverse climates, conditions and geographies will be used by the federal agency to secure
the nation’s airspace now and in the future.

WEC SUBSIDIARY TO BUILD TWO NATURAL GAS GENERATORS IN UPPER PENINSULA

A subsidiary of We Energies has asked for approval to build two generating plants
located in Baraga and Marquette counties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at a cost of
$277 million. Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corporation would build the natural
gas projects by 2019 enabling We Energies to shut down its coal-fired power plant in
Marquette, Michigan, by 2020. This would eliminate the need for Wisconsin ratepayers to
continue paying for that plant.

ROBERTS APPOINTED PSC COMMISSIONER

Gov. Scott Walker recently announced that Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) Secretary Lon Roberts will replace current Public Service Commissioner Phil Montgomery whose term on PSC ends next month. Montgomery had served 12 years in the Wisconsin Assembly before his six-year term on PSC.  Roberts, Montgomery’s replacement, was a partner and president at a law firm in Wausau and served as chair of the State of Wisconsin Investment Board before becoming DFI secretary in February 2016.

ARMY CORP OF ENGINEERS PROPOSES AGREEMENT

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing to let several utility companies pay to speed up review of their permit
applications in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Under the plan, the utilities would fund up to two full-time staff to handle
wetland and water crossing permits from American Transmission Company and WEC Energy Group whose subsidiaries include We Energies, Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, the Wisconsin River Power Company and Minnesota Energy Resources Corporation.

XCEL ENERGY BOARD ELECTS NEW MEMBER

Daniel Yohannes has been elected to Xcel Energy’s board of directors, effective March 1,
2017. Yohannes most recently served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),
an international forum promoting
economic growth, prosperity, sustainable development and energy security through
better policies.  Prior to that appointment, he served as Chief Executive Officer of
Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government development agency that
provides grants for investments in, among other things, energy and power infrastructure
in developing countries to create self-sustaining power
systems and support economic
development.

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