Shareholders from Minnesota and Wisconsin Meet in Hudson

Utility company stock dividends and alternate fuel vehicles were primary topics Tuesday, Oct. 16, in Hudson at a joint regional meeting of Wisconsin Utility Investors and Minnesota Utility Investors. Several alternative fuel vehicles were parked at the entrance to the Hudson Golf Club, where 90 WUI and MUI members and guests could get a close-up look.

Participants received an update on the nationwide “Defend My Dividend” program by WUI Executive Director Bob Seitz, and were urged to ask their representatives in Congress to stop a pending stock dividend tax increase at the end of the year. He said that unless Congress and the President act to stop the increase, the current tax rate of 15 percent on dividends would increase to a top rate as high as 43 percent. He stressed that lower dividend tax rates do not just benefit direct shareholders, but also millions of Americans who own stock indirectly through pension funds, 401(k) plans, mutual funds and individual retirement accounts.  Click here to send your message to your congressional leaders.  (Follow the link to “Contact Congress”.)

According to a panel of alternative fuel vehicle specialists who spoke at the meeting, the role of utility companies as transportation fuel providers will increase as a growing number of automobile manufacturers offer alternative fuel vehicles. Examples on display Tuesday included an electric Chevy Volt, electric Ford Transit Connect and two compressed natural gas-powered Honda Civics. Thor Bjork of Xcel Energy said the projected increase in number of electric vehicles is expected to place manageable demand on his company’s  infrastructure, but distribution system demand issues might arise in a neighborhood where a cluster of electric vehicles recharges simultaneously. Panelists explained that electric vehicle recharging is practical for homes and businesses, but compressed natural gas fuel is generally best suited for fleet vehicles or trucks. La Crosse-based Kwik Trip is promoting and marketing CNG based on its own experience operating and maintaining its distribution fleet.

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