This section does not apply to rates, tolls or charges of a telecommunications cooperative or small telecommunications utility except as provided in s. 196.205
or 196.215 (2)
See also ch. PSC 110
, Wis. adm. code.
In the absence of statutory authority, the PSC may not fix rates to be applied retroactively. Algoma, Eagle River, New Holstein, Stratford, Sturgeon Bay & Two Rivers v. PSC, 91 Wis. 2d 252
, 283 N.W.2d 261
(Ct. App. 1978).
Allowing a utility to charge present ratepayers for a storm damage casualty loss that occurred in a prior year did not constitute retroactive rate making. Wisconsin Environmental Decade, Inc. v. PSC, 98 Wis. 2d 682
, 298 N.W.2d 205
(Ct. App. 1980).
The PSC has authority to shift the cost of excess generating capacity to shareholders if the excess capacity was imprudently acquired or is not useful in serving the public, but there must be a reasoned determination that ratepayers should not bear the cost. Madison Gas & Electric Co. v. PSC, 109 Wis. 2d 127
, 325 N.W.2d 339
A utility's failure to pay taxes under protest may constitute "imprudence" and may reasonably affect a rate-setting decision. Wisconsin Public Service Corporation v. PSC, 156 Wis. 2d 611
, 457 N.W.2d 502
(Ct. App. 1990).
The PSC has authority to order a utility to refund compensation collected in violation of filed tariffs. GTE North Inc. v. PSC, 176 Wis. 2d 559
, 500 N.W.2d 284
The PSC's imposition of a penalty for imprudent administration of a coal acquisition contract was impermissible retroactive rate-making. Wisconsin Power & Light v. PSC, 181 Wis. 2d 385
, 511 N.W.2d 291
Sub. (1) is not implicated when a refund is ordered for reasons other than the PSC's determination that rates for services already provided were not reasonable. Sub. (2) authorizes the PSC to order a refund of a rate that the utility believed was included in a tariff, but the PSC concluded was not, and of a rate that the utility believed was properly filed with the PSC but the PSC concluded was not. CenturyTel of the Midwest-Kendall, Inc. v. PSC, 2002 WI App 236, 257 Wis. 2d 837
, 653 N.W.2d 130
Once a rate or practice is determined to be unlawful, or once a charge is determined to be a practice that is unlawful, it is subject to the remedial authority of sub. (2). Under CenturyTel, sub. (2) provides the PSC authority to order a refund. Wisconsin Bell, Inc. v. Public Service Commission, 2004 WI App 8, 269 Wis. 2d 409
, 675 N.W.2d 242
Railroad telecommunications service.
If the commission receives a complaint that telecommunications service with any railroad, as defined under s. 195.02
, is inadequate or in any respect unreasonably or unjustly discriminatory or that the service is unavailable, the commission shall investigate the same. If upon investigation the commission finds that any telecommunications service is inadequate or unreasonably or unjustly discriminatory or that the service is unavailable, it shall determine and by order fix a reasonable regulation, practice or service to be installed, imposed and observed and followed in the future.
History: 1977 c. 29
; Stats. 1977 s. 196.627; 1983 a. 53
; Stats. 1983 s. 196.374; 1983 a. 192
; Stats. 1983 s. 196.372; 1985 a. 297
Water heater thermostat settings. 196.373(1)(a)
"Periodic customer billing" means a demand for payment of utility services by a public utility to a residential utility consumer on a monthly or other regular basis.
"Residential utility consumer" means any individual who lives in a dwelling which is located in this state and which is furnished with a utility service by a public utility. "Residential utility consumer" includes, but is not limited to, an individual engaged in farming as defined under s. 102.04 (3)
At least annually every public utility furnishing gas or electricity shall include in its periodic customer billing a statement recommending that water heater thermostats be set no higher than 125 degrees Fahrenheit in order to prevent severe burns and unnecessary energy consumption.
History: 1987 a. 102
Low-income assistance, energy efficiency and other programs. 196.374(1)(a)
"Department" means the department of administration.
"Utility" means a Class A gas or electric utility, as defined by the commission, but does not include a municipal utility, as defined in s. 16.957 (1) (q)
, a municipal electric company, as defined in s. 66.0825 (3) (d)
, or a cooperative association organized under ch. 185
The commission shall determine the amount that each utility spent in 1998 on programs for each of the following:
Low-income assistance, including low-income weatherization and writing off uncollectibles and arrearages.
In 2000, 2001 and 2002, the commission shall require each utility to spend a decreasing portion of the amount determined under sub. (2)
on programs specified in sub. (2)
and contribute the remaining portion of the amount to the commission for deposit in the fund. In each year after 2002, each utility shall contribute the entire amount determined under sub. (2)
to the commission for deposit in the fund. The commission shall ensure in rate-making orders that a utility recovers from its ratepayers the amounts spent on programs or contributed to the fund under this subsection. The commission shall allow each utility the option of continuing to use, until January 1, 2002, the moneys that it has recovered under s. 196.374 (3)
, 1997 stats., to administer the programs that it has funded under s. 196.374 (1)
, 1997 stats. The commission may allow each utility to spend additional moneys on the programs specified in sub. (2)
if the utility otherwise complies with the requirements of this section and s. 16.957 (4)
If the department notifies the commission under s. 16.957 (2) (b) 2.
that the department has reduced funding for energy conservation and efficiency and renewable resource programs by an amount that is greater than the portion of the public benefits fee specified in s. 16.957 (4) (c) 2.
, the commission shall reduce the amount that utilities are required to spend on programs or contribute to the fund under sub. (3)
by the portion of the reduction that exceeds the amount of public benefits fees specified in s. 16.957 (4) (c) 2.
History: 1983 a. 27
; 1999 a. 9
; 2001 a. 30
Adequate service; reasonable rates.
Upon complaint by any party affected, setting forth that any grantee of a permit to develop hydraulic power and generate hydroelectric energy for sale or service to the public is not furnishing consumers of this state with adequate service at a reasonable rate as a result of sales of the energy outside of the state, the commission may declare any or all contracts entered into by the grantee for the sales null and void insofar as the contracts interfere with the service or rate. The commission may not make a declaration under this section except after a hearing and investigation and a recorded finding that convenience and necessity require the sale of a specified part or all such energy within this state.
History: 1983 a. 53
Renewable energy sources. 196.377(1)
Promotion of renewable energy systems.
The commission shall encourage public utilities to develop and demonstrate electric generating technologies that utilize renewable sources of energy, including new, innovative or experimental technologies. The commission may ensure that a public utility fully recovers the cost of developing, constructing and operating such demonstrations through rates charged to customers of the utility.
"Eastern Wisconsin utility" means a public utility, other than a municipal utility that, on May 12, 1998, provided retail electric service to customers in the geographic area of the state that was served by the reliability council on that date.
"Municipal utility" means a public utility that is a municipality or that is wholly owned or operated by a municipality.
"Reliability council" means the Mid-America Interconnected Network, Inc., reliability council of the North American Electric Reliability Council.
Except as provided in par. (d)
, no later than December 31, 2000, each eastern Wisconsin utility shall construct or procure, on a competitive basis, the construction of an aggregate total of 50 megawatts of new electric capacity in this state that is, to the satisfaction of the commission, generated from renewable energy sources. Each eastern Wisconsin utility shall construct or procure the construction of a share of the aggregate total required under this paragraph that corresponds to the utility's share, as determined by the commission, of the aggregate demand for electricity that is supplied by the utilities in this state.
An eastern Wisconsin utility may procure the construction required under par. (a)
by issuing requests for proposals no later than September 30, 1998.
The commission may allow an eastern Wisconsin utility to comply with the requirements under par. (b)
by a date that is later than December 31, 2000, if the commission determines that the later date is necessary due to circumstances beyond the utility's control.
Any new electric capacity that is generated from a wind power project for which an eastern Wisconsin utility has received a proposal before May 12, 1998, may be counted in determining whether the utility has satisfied the requirements under par. (b)
The commission shall allow an eastern Wisconsin utility to recover in its retail electric rates any costs that are prudently incurred by the utility in complying with the requirements under par. (b)
History: 1993 a. 418
; 1997 a. 204
Renewable resources. 196.378(1)(a)
"Biomass" means a resource that derives energy from wood or plant material or residue, biological waste, crops grown for use as a resource or landfill gases. "Biomass" does not include garbage, as defined in s. 289.01 (9)
, or nonvegetation-based industrial, commercial or household waste, except that "biomass" includes refuse-derived fuel used for a renewable facility that was in service in this state before January 1, 1998.
"Biomass cofired facility" means a renewable facility in which biomass and conventional resources are fired together.
"Conventional resource" means a resource that derives energy from coal, oil, nuclear power or natural gas, except for natural gas used in a fuel cell.
"Department" means the department of administration.
"Electric provider" means an electric utility or retail electric cooperative.
"Electric utility" means a public utility that sells electricity at retail. For purposes of this paragraph, a public utility is not considered to sell electricity at retail solely on the basis of its ownership or operation of a retail electric distribution system.
"Excludable renewable energy" means the portion of an electric provider's total renewable energy that is supplied from renewable facilities that were placed in service before January 1, 1998, and that, before January 1, 1998, derived electricity from hydroelectric power, even if the output of the renewable facilities is used to satisfy requirements under federal law.
"Nonsystem renewable energy" means the amount of electricity that an electric provider sells to its retail customers or members and that is supplied or allocated under executed wholesale purchase contracts from renewable facilities that are not owned or operated by the electric provider. "Nonsystem renewable energy" does not include any electricity that is not used to satisfy the electric provider's retail load obligations.
"Renewable facility" means an installed and operational electric generating facility in which electricity is derived from a renewable resource. "Renewable facility" includes a facility the installation or operation of which is required under federal law, but does not include a facility the installation or operation of which is required under the laws of another state even if the installation or operation of the facility is also required under federal law.
"Renewable resource" means any of the following:
A resource that derives electricity from any of the following:
A fuel cell that uses, as determined by the commission, a renewable fuel.
A resource with a capacity of less than 60 megawatts that derives electricity from hydroelectric power.
Any other resource, except a conventional resource, that the commission designates as a renewable resource in rules promulgated under sub. (4)
"Renewable resource credit" means a credit calculated in accordance with rules promulgated under sub. (3) (a)
"Resource" means a source of energy used to generate electric power.
"Retail electric cooperative" means a cooperative association organized under ch. 185
that sells electricity at retail to its members only. For purposes of this paragraph, a cooperative association is not considered to sell electricity at retail solely on the basis of its ownership or operation of a retail electric distribution system.
"System renewable energy" means the amount of electricity that an electric provider sells to its retail customers or members and that is supplied by renewable facilities owned or operated by the electric provider.
"Total renewable energy" means the sum of an electric provider's system and nonsystem renewable energy.
Each electric provider shall provide to its retail electric customers or members total renewable energy in at least the following percentages of its total retail electric sales, either directly or through renewable resource credits from another electric provider:
Total retail electric sales shall be calculated on the basis of an average of an electric provider's retail electric sales in this state during the prior 3 years.
The amount of electricity supplied by a biomass cofired facility that may be counted toward satisfying the requirements of par. (a)
shall be an amount equal to the product of the maximum amount of electricity that the facility is capable of generating and the ratio of the energy content of the biomass fuels to the energy content of both the biomass and conventional resources.
Any excludable renewable energy that exceeds 0.6% of an electric provider's total retail electric sales shall be excluded from the electric provider's total renewable energy.
The members of a municipal electric company, as defined in s. 66.0825 (3) (d)
, may aggregate and allocate renewable energy among themselves.
No later than April 15 annually, an electric provider shall submit a report to the department that describes the electric provider's compliance with par. (a)
. Reports under this paragraph may include certifications from wholesale suppliers regarding the sources and amounts of energy supplied to an electric provider. The department may specify the documentation that is required to be included with reports submitted under this paragraph.
The commission shall allow an electric utility to recover from ratepayers the cost of providing total renewable energy to its retail customers in amounts that equal or exceed the percentages specified in par. (a)
. Subject to any approval of the commission that is necessary, an electric utility may recover costs under this paragraph by any of the following methods: