196.78 196.78 Voluntary dissolution. No corporation or limited liability company owning or operating a public utility may be dissolved unless the commission consents. The commission may consent only after hearing. The commission shall give at least 30 days' notice to each municipality in which the public utility is operated and an opportunity to be heard to each municipality and to the stockholders in the corporation or members of a limited liability company.
196.78 History History: 1983 a. 53; 1993 a. 112.
196.79 196.79 Reorganization subject to commission approval. The reorganization of any public utility shall be subject to the supervision and control of the commission. No reorganization may take effect without the written approval of the commission. The commission may not approve any plan of reorganization unless the applicant for approval establishes that the plan of reorganization is consistent with the public interest.
196.79 History History: 1977 c. 29; 1983 a. 53; 1993 a. 496; 2011 a. 22.
196.795 196.795 Public utility holding companies.
196.795(1)(1)Definitions. In this section:
196.795(1)(a) (a) “Affiliated interest" has the meaning given under s. 196.52 (1).
196.795(1)(b) (b) “Appliance" means any equipment used directly for cooking, drying, water tempering, space heating, space cooling or space ventilation. “Appliance" does not include equipment or devices which monitor or control the primary energy supply or source for any equipment used directly for cooking, drying, water tempering, space heating, space cooling or space ventilation.
196.795(1)(c) (c) “Beneficial owner" means, with respect to a security, any person who in any way has the unconditional power to vote or receive the economic gains or losses of the security. “Beneficial owner" does not mean, with respect to a security, any person, including but not limited to any of the following, holding the security for another person:
196.795(1)(c)1. 1. The trustee of a qualified employee plan.
196.795(1)(c)2. 2. The trustee of a stock purchase plan or a dividend reinvestment plan.
196.795(1)(c)3. 3. A pledgee.
196.795(1)(c)4. 4. A nominee.
196.795(1)(c)5. 5. A broker or an agent.
196.795(1)(c)6. 6. An underwriter for the first 40 days following acquisition of securities from an issuer if the securities are held in the underwriter's own account.
196.795(1)(e) (e) “Commercial building" means any building which is used primarily for carrying out any business, including but not limited to a nonprofit business, and any building which is used primarily for the manufacture or production of products, raw materials or agricultural commodities.
196.795(1)(f) (f) “Company" means any partnership, corporation, joint-stock company, business trust or organized group of persons, whether incorporated or not, and any receiver, trustee or other liquidator of a partnership, association, joint-stock company, business trust or organized group of persons. “Company" does not include a municipality or other political subdivision.
196.795(1)(g) (g) “Form a holding company" means any of the following:
196.795(1)(g)1. 1. As a beneficial owner, to take, hold or acquire 5 percent or more of the outstanding voting securities of a public utility, other than a transmission company, with the unconditional power to vote those securities.
196.795(1)(g)2. 2. To exchange or convert 50 percent or more of the outstanding voting securities of a public utility, other than a municipality or other political subdivision or a transmission company, for or into the voting securities of a company organized, created, appointed or formed by or at the direction of the public utility or of a subsidiary of such company.
196.795(1)(h)1.1. “Holding company" means any of the following:
196.795(1)(h)1.a. a. Any company which, in any chain of successive ownership, directly or indirectly as a beneficial owner, owns, controls or holds 5 percent or more of the outstanding voting securities of a public utility, with the unconditional power to vote such securities.
196.795(1)(h)1.b. b. Any person which the commission determines, after investigation and hearing, directly or indirectly, exercises, alone or under an arrangement or understanding with one or more persons, such a controlling interest over the management or policies of a public utility as to make it necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of the utility's consumers or investors that such person be subject to this section.
196.795(1)(h)2. 2. “Holding company", except for purposes of s. 196.795 (11) (b), does not mean any company which owns, operates, manages or controls a telecommunications utility, unless such company also owns, operates, manages or controls a public utility which is not a telecommunications utility.
196.795(1)(h)3. 3. “Holding company" does not include a transmission company.
196.795(1)(i) (i) “Holding company system" means a holding company and any public utility with which the holding company is an affiliated interest and any company which is an affiliated interest with such public utility and any other company more than 5 percent of whose ownership interest is owned directly or indirectly in any chain of successive ownership by such public utility or by such company which is an affiliated interest with such public utility.
196.795(1)(j) (j) “Nonutility affiliate" means a company in a holding company system which is not a public utility.
196.795(1)(k) (k) “Person" means an individual or company.
196.795(1)(L) (L) “Public utility affiliate" means a company which is in a holding company system and which is a public utility.
196.795(1)(Lm) (Lm) “Public utility affiliate employee" means any individual who is in the regular employ of a public utility affiliate, except any officer or director and any officer's or director's incidental supporting staff and except such personnel as is required by the public utility affiliate's organizational structure to perform such functions as accounting consolidation.
196.795(1)(m) (m) “Sell at retail" means to sell an appliance to a person who is the consumer or user of the appliance.
196.795(1)(o) (o) “Subsidiary" has the meaning given under s. 180.1130 (12).
196.795(1)(p) (p) “Transmission company" has the meaning given in s. 196.485 (1) (ge).
196.795(2) (2)Holding company formation.
196.795(2)(a) (a) No person may form a holding company unless the person has received a certificate of approval from the commission under this subsection.
196.795(2)(b) (b) An application for a certificate of approval to form a holding company is complete if it contains all of the following information:
196.795(2)(b)1. 1. The names and corporate relationships of all companies which will be in the holding company system with the applicant when the applicant forms the holding company and the name of the applicant and any parent or subsidiary corporation of the applicant.
196.795(2)(b)2. 2. A description of how the applicant plans to form the holding company including, if available at the time of application:
196.795(2)(b)2.a. a. Copies of the organizational documents associated with the holding company formation, including articles of incorporation or amendments to the articles of incorporation of all companies which will be in the holding company system with the applicant when the applicant forms the holding company.
196.795(2)(b)2.b. b. Copies of any filings, including securities filings, related to the formation of the holding company made with any agency of this state or the federal government.
196.795(2)(b)3. 3. The costs and fees attributable to the formation of the holding company.
196.795(2)(b)4. 4. The method by which management, personnel, property, income, losses, costs and expenses will be allocated within the holding company system between public utility affiliates and nonutility affiliates.
196.795(2)(b)5. 5. A copy of any proposed agreement between a public utility affiliate and any person with which it will be an affiliated interest at the time the holding company is formed.
196.795(2)(b)6. 6. An identification of all public utility assets or information in existence at the time of formation of the holding company, such as customer lists, which the applicant plans to transfer to or permit a nonutility affiliate, with which it is in the holding company system, to use. The identification shall include a description of the proposed terms and conditions under which the assets or information will be transferred or used.
196.795(2)(b)7. 7. A copy of a financial forecast showing the capital requirements of every public utility affiliate which at the time of the formation of the holding company will be within the holding company system. The financial forecast shall include for each public utility affiliate on an annual basis for l0 years following the year of application:
196.795(2)(b)7.a. a. Projected capital requirements.
196.795(2)(b)7.b. b. Sources of capital.
196.795(2)(b)7.c. c. An itemization of major capital expenditures.
196.795(2)(b)7.d. d. Projected capital structure.
196.795(2)(b)7.e. e. An estimated amount of retained earnings available for nonutility purposes.
196.795(2)(b)7.f. f. The assumptions underlying the information included in the financial forecast under subd. 7. a. to e.
196.795(2)(c) (c) No later than 30 days after the commission receives an application for a certificate of approval to form a holding company under this subsection, the commission shall determine whether such application is complete as specified under par. (b). If the commission determines that the application is complete, the commission shall docket the application for a determination under this paragraph. If the commission determines the application to be incomplete, the commission shall notify the applicant in writing of its determination, identify any part of the application which the commission has determined to be incomplete and state the reasons for such determination. An applicant may supplement and refile an application which the commission has determined to be incomplete under this paragraph. There is no limit on the number of times an applicant may refile an application under this paragraph prior to a determination under par. (e). If the commission fails to make a determination regarding the completeness of an application within 30 days after the application has been filed, the application shall be deemed to be complete.
196.795(2)(d) (d) The commission shall hold a hearing concerning an application for a certificate of approval to form a holding company under this subsection. The hearing may not be a hearing under s. 227.42 or 227.44.
196.795(2)(e) (e) No later than 120 days after an application has been docketed under par. (c), the commission shall issue its findings of fact, conclusions of law and special order approving or rejecting the application. The commission shall issue a certificate of approval to form a holding company unless it finds that the formation of the holding company would materially harm the interests of utility consumers or investors. The commission, in issuing a certificate of approval under this subsection, may only impose terms, limitations or conditions on such approval which are consistent with and necessary to satisfy the requirements of sub. (5) (b) to (s).
196.795(2)(f) (f) At any time subsequent to the time the commission approves the formation of a holding company under par. (e), the commission may, after notice and opportunity for hearing, modify any term, limitation or condition imposed under par. (e) or add any limitation, term or condition under par. (e). Any term, limitation or condition modified or added under this paragraph shall be consistent with and necessary to satisfy the requirements of sub. (5) (b) to (s).
196.795(3) (3)Takeovers. No person may take, hold or acquire, directly or indirectly, more than 10 percent of the outstanding voting securities of a holding company, with the unconditional power to vote those securities, unless the commission has determined, after investigation and an opportunity for hearing, that the taking, holding or acquiring is in the best interests of utility consumers, investors and the public. This subsection does not apply to the taking, holding or acquiring of the voting securities of any holding company existing before November 28, 1985, if such holding company is a company which provides public utility service.
196.795(4) (4)Capital impairment. If the commission finds that the capital of any public utility affiliate will be impaired by the payment of a dividend, the commission may, after an investigation and opportunity for hearing, order the public utility affiliate to limit or cease the payment of dividends to the holding company until the potential for impairment is eliminated.
196.795(5) (5)Regulation of holding company systems.
196.795(5)(a)(a) No holding company which is not a public utility and no nonutility affiliate is subject to any regulatory power of the commission except under this section, ss. 196.52, 196.525 and 196.84 and except under ch. 201 if the commission has made a determination under sub. (7) (a) which makes such holding company a public service corporation, as defined under s. 201.01 (2).
196.795(5)(b) (b) The commission has full access to any book, record, document or other information relating to a holding company system to the extent that such information is relevant to the performance of the commission's duties under ch. 201, this chapter or any other statute applicable to the public utility affiliate. The commission may require a holding company to keep any record or document which is necessary for the commission to perform its duties under this section and which is consistent with generally accepted accounting and record-keeping practices of the particular type of business involved. Any information obtained under this paragraph is subject to sub. (9), when applicable.
196.795(5)(c) (c) No public utility affiliate may lend money to any holding company which is not a public utility or to any nonutility affiliate with which it is in the holding company system.
196.795(5)(d) (d) No public utility affiliate may guarantee the obligations of any nonutility affiliate with which it is in a holding company system.
196.795(5)(dm) (dm) No public utility affiliate may provide utility service to any consumer of such public utility service or to any nonutility affiliate with which the public utility affiliate is in a holding company system except on the same terms or conditions that it provides such utility service to consumers in the same class.
196.795(5)(dr) (dr) No public utility affiliate may provide any nonutility product or service in a manner or at a price that unfairly discriminates against any competing provider of the product or service.
196.795(5)(f) (f) No nonutility activity of any holding company or nonutility affiliate may be subsidized materially by the consumers of any public utility affiliate with which the holding company or nonutility affiliate is in the holding company system. No public utility activity of any holding company or public utility affiliate may be subsidized materially by the nonutility activities of the holding company or any of its nonutility affiliates.
196.795(5)(g) (g) No holding company system may be operated in any way which materially impairs the credit, ability to acquire capital on reasonable terms or ability to provide safe, reasonable, reliable and adequate utility service of any public utility affiliate in the holding company system.
196.795(5)(h) (h) No public utility affiliate may transfer to any company with which it is in a holding company any confidential public utility information, including but not limited to customer lists, which will be transferred or used for any nonutility purpose by any holding company or nonutility affiliate unless the public utility affiliate has applied for and received the written approval of the commission for the transfer. The commission shall condition approval of such a transfer upon the applicant's providing adequate notice of the availability of such information to the public and making the information available to any person at a cost not to exceed the cost of reproduction. The commission may not approve any transfer which would foster unfair or discriminatory business practices, or which would destroy or hamper competition through conduct which violates ch. 133 or any other applicable state or federal antitrust law.
196.795(5)(i) (i) In its determination of any rate change proposed by a public utility affiliate under s. 196.20, the commission:
196.795(5)(i)1. 1. Shall consider the public utility affiliate as a wholly independent corporation and shall impute a capital structure to the public utility affiliate and establish a cost of capital for the public utility affiliate on a stand-alone basis;
196.795(5)(i)2. 2. May not attribute to that public utility affiliate any tax benefit or other benefit or tax liability or other liability resulting from the operations of the holding company or of any subsidiary of the holding company; and
196.795(5)(i)3. 3. May not attribute to the holding company or to any subsidiary of the holding company any tax benefit or other benefit or tax liability or other liability resulting from the operations of that public utility affiliate.
196.795(5)(j) (j) Every public utility affiliate is subject to every law, regulation and precedent applicable to the regulation of public utilities.
196.795(5)(k)1.1. Except as provided under subd. 2. or 3., no public utility affiliate may transfer, sell, or lease to any nonutility affiliate with which it is in a holding company system any real property which, on or after November 28, 1985, is held or used for provision of utility service except by public sale or offering to the highest qualified bidder.
196.795(5)(k)2. 2. A public utility affiliate may lease or rent office space to a holding company or any nonutility affiliate with which it is in a holding company system at not less than fair market value. A public utility affiliate may transfer real property which is contiguous to and used by the public utility affiliate for providing public access to a federally licensed hydroelectric project to a nonutility affiliate.
196.795(5)(k)3. 3. For the purpose of implementing a leased generation contract, as defined in s. 196.52 (9) (a) 3., that is approved under s. 196.52 (3), a public utility affiliate may transfer to a nonutility affiliate, at book value determined on the basis of the regulated books of account at the time of the transfer, any of the following:
196.795(5)(k)3.a. a. Land that is held or used for the provision of utility service.
196.795(5)(k)3.b. b. Electric generating equipment or associated facilities that are located on the land on which an electric generating facility subject to a leased generation contract is to be constructed, and that are part of an electric generating facility on that land that is no longer used or useful for the provision of utility service and that has been retired from the provision of utility service.
196.795(5)(L) (L) Any holding company which is incorporated shall be incorporated under ch. 180.
196.795 Note NOTE: Par. (L) was held to be unconstitutional by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Alliant Energy Corporation v. Bie, 330 F.3d 904 (2003).
196.795(5)(m)1.1. No holding company system may take any action to terminate its interest in a public utility affiliate without notice to and approval of the commission. If the commission grants approval, it may impose conditions with respect to the division and allocation of plant, equipment, resources and any other asset necessary to protect the interests of utility consumers and investors and the public.
196.795(5)(m)2. 2. If a holding company system terminates its interest under subd. 1. in all public utility affiliates with which it is in a holding company system, no company remaining in the holding company system is subject to any regulatory power of the commission.
196.795(5)(n) (n) A public utility affiliate may not engage in any combined advertising, directly or indirectly, with any nonutility affiliate with which it is in a holding company system within this state except for purposes of corporate identification and noncompetitive purposes.
196.795(5)(o) (o) The assets of every company in a holding company system shall be as recorded on the books of accounting record of the company, net of any applicable valuation accounts, including but not limited to accumulated depreciation and allowance for uncollectible accounts, as of the end of the prior year.
196.795(5)(q)1.1. No nonutility affiliate or joint venture or partnership with a nonutility affiliate as a member or partner may, in the service territory of a public utility affiliate with which it is in a holding company system, sell at retail, lease, install, maintain or service any appliance that uses as its primary energy source energy supplied by that public utility affiliate under rates and tariffs approved by the commission, if the appliance is, or is intended to be, located in any building used primarily for residential occupancy or in any commercial building unless the building is owned or operated by the holding company or by its nonutility affiliates or unless the commission determines, after notice and hearing, that the selling at retail, leasing, installing, maintaining or servicing of the appliance will not do any of the following:
196.795(5)(q)1.a. a. So as to violate ch. 133 or any other applicable state or federal antitrust law, lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly, restrain trade or constitute an unfair business practice.
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2017-18 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2019 Wis. Act 18 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on October 1, 2019. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after October 1, 2019, are designated by NOTES. (Published 10-1-19)