Any witness who appears before the commission or its agent, by order, shall receive for the applicable attendance the fees provided for witnesses in civil cases in courts of record, which shall be audited and paid by the state in the same manner as other expenses are audited and paid under s. 885.07
, upon the presentation of proper vouchers sworn to by such witnesses and approved by the chairperson of the commission. Fees paid under this section shall be charged to the appropriation for the commission under s. 20.155 (1) (g)
No witness subpoenaed at the instance of parties other than the commission may be compensated under this section unless the commission certifies that the testimony of the witness was material to the matter investigated.
History: 1983 a. 53
The commission or any party in any investigation or hearing may cause the depositions of witnesses residing within or without the state to be taken in the manner prescribed by law for like depositions in civil actions in circuit courts. Any expense incurred or authorized by the commission in taking a deposition shall be charged to the appropriation for the commission under s. 20.155 (1) (g)
History: 1983 a. 53
The commission shall keep a complete record of its proceedings before the commission or its agent in any formal investigation or hearing.
History: 1983 a. 53
; 1995 a. 27
Transcripts and tapes. 196.36(1)
The commission shall receive into evidence a transcribed copy of the evidence and proceedings, or any specific part of the evidence and proceedings, on any investigation or hearing taken by a stenographer if the stenographer certifies that the copy is a true and correct transcript of all the testimony or of the testimony of a particular witness, or of any other specific part of the investigation or hearing, that the transcript was carefully compared by the stenographer with his or her original notes, and that the copy is a correct statement of the evidence presented and proceedings held in the investigation or hearing. The certified copy shall have the same effect as if the stenographer were present and testified to the correctness of the copy.
(1m) Transcripts from tapes.
The commission shall receive into evidence a transcribed copy of an audiotape or videotape of the evidence and proceedings, or any specific part of the evidence and proceedings, of any investigation or hearing that is recorded if the transcriber certifies that the copy is a true and correct transcription from the audiotape or videotape of all the testimony or of the testimony of a particular witness, or of any other specific part of the investigation or hearing and that the copy is a correct statement of the evidence presented and proceedings held in the investigation or hearing. The certified copy shall have the same effect as if the transcriber were present and testified to the correctness of the copy.
(1r) Production expenses.
The commission may require any party to an investigation or hearing to bear the expense of producing a transcript, audiotape or videotape that is related to the investigation or hearing.
Upon request, the commission shall furnish a copy of a transcript under this section to any party to the investigation or hearing from which the transcript is taken and shall furnish a copy of an audiotape or videotape to any party to the investigation or hearing from which the audiotape or videotape is taken. The commission may charge a reasonable price for the transcript or tape.
See also ch. PSC 113
and s. PSC 2.29
, Wis. adm. code.
Lawful rates; reasonable service. 196.37(1)
If, after an investigation under this chapter or ch. 197
, the commission finds rates, tolls, charges, schedules or joint rates to be unjust, unreasonable, insufficient or unjustly discriminatory or preferential or otherwise unreasonable or unlawful, the commission shall determine and order reasonable rates, tolls, charges, schedules or joint rates to be imposed, observed and followed in the future.
If the commission finds that any measurement, regulation, practice, act or service is unjust, unreasonable, insufficient, preferential, unjustly discriminatory or otherwise unreasonable or unlawful, or that any service is inadequate, or that any service which reasonably can be demanded cannot be obtained, the commission shall determine and make any just and reasonable order relating to a measurement, regulation, practice, act or service to be furnished, imposed, observed and followed in the future.
Any public utility to which an order under this section applies shall make such changes in schedules on file under s. 196.19
to make the schedules conform to the order. The public utility may not make any subsequent change in rates, tolls or charges without the approval of the commission.
This section does not apply to rates, tolls or charges of a telecommunications cooperative, an unincorporated telecommunications cooperative association, or a small telecommunications utility except as provided in s. 196.205
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
Rate-making principles for electric generation facilities. 196.371(2)
A public utility that proposes to purchase an electric generating facility or that applies for a certificate for the construction of an electric generating facility may apply to the commission for an order specifying in advance the rate-making principles that the commission shall apply to the public utility's recovery of the capital costs of the facility, including the purchase price and any necessary modifications or improvements to the facility at the time of the purchase, in future rate-making proceedings. In applying for an order under this section, a public utility shall describe the public utility's proposal for the recovery of such costs, including all of the following:
The proposed return on equity and rate of return for the facility.
The proposed financing mechanisms for the facility.
The proposed method for determining the costs that may be recovered in rates.
Any other proposals or information regarding the recovery of the costs that the public utility determines are necessary for providing certainty to the public utility, investors, and ratepayers in future rate-making proceedings.
Any other information specified by the commission.
The commission shall conduct a hearing on an application for an order under this section. The commission may hold the hearing in conjunction with a hearing, if any, on the application for the certificate or the commission may hold a separate hearing on the application for the order. If the public utility has applied for a certificate for the facility, the commission shall determine whether to deny an application for an order or to issue an order no later than the date that the commission takes final action on the application for the certificate. If the public utility has not applied for a certificate, the commission shall determine whether to deny an application for an order or to issue an order no later than 180 days after the commission determines that the application for the order is complete using the method and deadlines specified under s. 196.491 (3) (a) 2.
The commission may issue an order if the commission determines that the order will provide a sufficient degree of certainty to the public utility, investors, and ratepayers with respect to future recovery of the facility's capital costs and that the order is otherwise in the public interest.
The commission shall specify in an order under this section a deadline at least 60 days after the date of issuance of the order for the public utility to notify the commission in writing about whether the public utility accepts or waives acceptance of the order. If the public utility does not make the notification by the deadline specified in the order, the public utility is considered to have waived acceptance of the order.
If the public utility accepts the order, then, in all future rate-making proceedings regarding the public utility, the order shall be binding on the commission in its treatment of the recovery of the capital costs of the facility that is subject to the order and the commission may not consider the order or the effects of the order in its treatment of the recovery of any other cost of the public utility.
If the public utility waives or is considered to have waived acceptance of the order, the commission shall withdraw the order and consider the capital costs of the facility in all future rate-making proceedings in the same manner as the commission considers capital costs for which no order has been issued under this section.
The commission may not require a public utility to apply for or accept an order under this section.
The commission shall promulgate rules for administering this section, including rules specifying the information that must be included in an application for an order under this section.
History: 2005 a. 7
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
Energy efficiency and renewable resource programs. 196.374(1)(b)
"Commitment to community program" means an energy efficiency or load management program by or on behalf of a municipal utility or retail electric cooperative.
"Customer application of renewable resources" means the generation of energy from renewable resources that takes place on the premises of a customer of an energy utility or municipal utility or a member of a retail electric cooperative.
"Energy efficiency program" means a program for reducing the usage or increasing the efficiency of the usage of energy by a customer or member of an energy utility, municipal utility, or retail electric cooperative. "Energy efficiency program" does not include load management.
"Energy utility" means an investor-owned electric or natural gas public utility.
"Large energy customer" means a customer of an energy utility that owns or operates a facility in the energy utility's service area that has an energy demand of at least 1,000 kilowatts of electricity per month or of at least 10,000 decatherms of natural gas per month and that, in a month, is billed at least $60,000 for electric service, natural gas service, or both, for all of the facilities of the customer within the energy utility's service territory.
"Load management program" means a program to allow an energy utility, municipal utility, wholesale electric cooperative, as defined in s. 16.957 (1) (v)
, retail electric cooperative, or municipal electric company, as defined in s. 66.0825 (3) (d)
, to control or manage daily or seasonal customer demand associated with equipment or devices used by customers or members.
"Ordered program" means an energy efficiency or renewable resource program that an energy utility commenced on or after January 1, 2001, under a commission order issued on or after January 1, 2001, and in effect before July 1, 2007.
"Renewable resource" means a resource that derives energy from any source other than coal, petroleum products, nuclear power or, except as used in a fuel cell, natural gas. "Renewable resource" includes resources deriving energy from any of the following:
Fuel cell technology that uses, as determined by the commission, a renewable fuel.
"Renewable resource program" means a program for encouraging the development or use of customer applications of renewable resources, including educating customers or members about renewable resources, encouraging customers or members to use renewable resources, and encouraging the transfer of new or emerging technologies from research, development, and demonstration to commercial implementation.
(2) Energy efficiency and renewable resource programs. 196.374(2)(a)1.1.
The energy utilities in this state shall collectively establish and fund statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource programs. The energy utilities shall contract, on the basis of competitive bids, with one or more persons to develop and administer the programs. The utilities may not execute a contract under this subdivision unless the commission has approved the contract. The commission shall require each energy utility to spend the amount required under sub. (3) (b) 2.
to fund statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource programs.
The purpose of the programs under this paragraph shall be to help achieve environmentally sound and adequate energy supplies at reasonable cost, consistent with the commission's responsibilities under s. 196.025 (1) (ar)
and the utilities' obligations under this chapter. The programs shall include, at a minimum, all of the following:
Components to address the energy needs of residential, commercial, agricultural, institutional, and industrial energy users and local units of government.
Components to reduce the energy costs incurred by local units of government and agricultural producers, by increasing the efficiency of energy use by local units of government and agricultural producers. The commission shall ensure that not less than 10 percent of the moneys utilities are required to spend under subd. 1.
or sub. (3) (b) 2.
is spent annually on programs under this subdivision except that, if the commission determines that the full amount cannot be spent on cost-effective programs for local units of government and agricultural producers, the commission shall ensure that any surplus funds be spent on programs to serve commercial, institutional, and industrial customers. A local unit of government that receives assistance under this subd. 2. b.
shall apply all costs savings realized from the assistance to reducing the property tax levy.
Initiatives and market strategies that address the needs of individuals or businesses facing the most significant barriers to creation of or participation in markets for energy efficient products that the individual or business manufactures or sells or energy efficiency services that the individual or business provides.
Initiatives for research and development regarding the environmental and economic impacts of energy use in this state.
Components to implement energy efficiency or renewable energy measures in facilities of manufacturing businesses in this state that are consistent with the implementation of energy efficiency or renewable energy measures in manufacturing facilities to enhance their competitiveness, the retooling of existing facilities to manufacture products that support the green economy, the expansion or establishment of domestic clean energy manufacturing operations, and creating or retaining jobs for workers engaged in such activities.
The commission may not require an energy utility to administer or fund any energy efficiency or renewable resource program that is in addition to the programs required under subd. 1.
and any ordered program of the utility. This subdivision does not limit the authority of the commission to enforce an energy utility's obligations under s. 196.378