MGE ENERGY ANNUAL MEETING SPOTLIGHTED CLEAN ENERGY PROJECTS

The MGE Energy Annual Meeting highlighted clean energy investments, and new technologies. Nearly 1,800 shareholders gathered for the MGE Energy 2018 Annual Meeting during which they heard from company leadership on how Madison Gas and Electric (MGE), is harnessing the power of new technologies to reach clean energy goals. President and CEO Jeff Keebler said MGE is committed to reducing carbon emissions 40 percent by 2030 and at least 80 percent by 2050, a target consistent with the U.S. Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization (MCS). The MCS is the U.S. strategy for meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

Wisconsin One of Twenty Seven States Suing Over Emissions Rules

In a temporary but significant victory for the Obama
administration, a federal appeals panel has rejected an
effort by twenty-seven states and dozens of corporations
and industry groups to block the administration’s signature
regulation on emissions from coal-fired power plants while
a lawsuit moves through the courts.  The rule, issued last
summer by the Environmental Protection Agency, is at the
heart of Obama’s efforts to deal with climate change. It
would require each state to significantly cut carbon dioxide
emissions from electric power plants. If implemented, it
could result in the closing of hundreds of coal-fired plants
and would require sharply increased production of
inefficient and heavily subsidized wind and solar facilities.
The 27 states, many of which have economies that rely on
coal mining or coal-fired power, have sued the
administration to kill the plan. Wisconsin is one of those
states.  The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Circuit has set June 2 to hear arguments in that case,
although it is widely expected to be ultimately decided by
the Supreme Court, most likely in 2017.

U.S. SUPREME COURT TO MAKE GLOBAL WARMING RULING

The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments during April in a case attempting to give private parties the ability to set emission caps on utilities for their alleged contribution to climate change. In the case American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, a group of state attorneys general sued five utilities claiming that their emissions are a “public nuisance” under the common law. The federal district court dismissed the claims ruling that the parties did not have standing.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the lower court and found that there exists a federal common law cause of action for contributing to climate change. Whether the Second Circuit’s decision is upheld, however, remains to be seen. Based on the questions posed by the Supreme Court Justices during oral arguments, they did not appear to be agreeing with the plaintiffs’ argument that there is an implied common law nuisance claim. Specifically, the Justices did not seem ready to approve of the courts setting global warming policies, which is instead something to be handled by the legislative branch. A decision should be issued by July.

GRASSROOTS ACTION DEFEATS ANTI-JOBS GLOBAL WARMING BILL!

The state Senate has just adjourned without passing the so-called “Clean Energy Jobs Act,” killing the bill for the year.

This was the top priority for WUI this legislative session because the bill would have unnecessarily increased energy costs and driven jobs from Wisconsin.

Over 500 grassroots WUI members contacted their legislators this week alone.  We also put so many calls in to our legislators that members complained the state toll-free hotline was overwhelmed.

WUI members prove once again that regular people can band together and make a difference!

Congratulation WUI Members!

PSC Error Hides Global Warming Bill Rate Increases

When the Public Service Commission put out a study showing that forcing utilities to spend an unnecessary $15 billion would save money, we were skeptical (see our previous posts).

Now, the PSC analysis has been analyzed and a major error has been found.

In a memo to Senate Clean Energy Jobs Committee Co-Chairman Jeff Plale, Steve Baas at the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce explains the problem.

“…I believe the Commission has made a serious methodological error that distorts the actual cost impact of the bill and would like to bring it to your attention.”

Baas goes on to explain:

“But taking this Table 4 in isolation ignores the fact that prices are driven up in a reduced sales scenario so long as fixed costs are recovered in part by volumetric rates.”

What does this mean?  The PSC failed to consider that, even if folks use less energy through the conservation goals in the bill, $15 billion in construction will still have to be paid for.  Under the bill, lower use means higher rates to pay the higher costs of the bill.

Bottom Line:

As you can see, the results, using PSC’s own study numbers, indicate that the CEJA Sub proposal would increase electric rates between 6.4% and 12.5% above the status quo, depending on the assumption made for CO2 regulation costs. 

Even more likely are the increases Minnesota and Iowa are facing because they adopted a similar law:

In addition, we are concerned that even these estimates, derived from PSC’s own data points to 6.4% to 12.5% rate hike, still underestimates what we can expect based on real impacts in other states. For example, Minnesota and Iowa both adopted 25% by 2025 renewable mandates and now electric customers are facing rate increases of 14% and 20% respectively, with future hikes inevitable.

This is what WUI has been concerned about throughout this process.  It is easy for the state to mandate more spending and equally easy for them to “forget” that the bill must be paid.

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