Make available to all residential utility consumers information on utility service costs and on benefits and methods of energy conservation.
The corporation shall have all the powers necessary or convenient for the effective representation and protection of the interests of residential utility consumers and to implement this chapter, including the following powers in addition to all other powers granted by this chapter:
To make, amend and repeal bylaws and rules for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its business; to adopt an official seal and alter it at pleasure; to maintain an office; to sue and be sued in its own name, plead and be impleaded; and to make and execute contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient to the exercise of the powers of the corporation.
To employ such agents, employees and special advisers as it finds necessary and to fix their compensation.
To solicit and accept gifts, loans or other aid in order to support activities concerning the interests of residential utility consumers, except that the corporation may not accept gifts, loans or other aid from any public utility or from any director, employee or agent or member of the immediate family of a director, employee or agent of any public utility and except that after the first election under s. 199.12
the corporation may not accept from any individual, private corporation, association or partnership in any single year a total of more than $1,000 in gifts. Under this paragraph, “aid" does not mean payment of membership fees under s. 199.04
To intervene as a party or otherwise participate on behalf of residential utility consumers in any proceeding which affects the interests of residential utility consumers.
To represent the interests of residential utility consumers before legislative bodies and other public bodies, except that no director, employee or agent of the corporation may engage in lobbying without first complying with subch. III of ch. 13
and any other statute, administrative rule or other regulation relating to lobbying.
To seek tax exempt status under state and federal law.
History: 1979 c. 72
The corporation shall be managed by a board to be composed as follows:
Two directors shall be elected from each district under s. 199.12
. A director shall represent the interests of the residential utility consumers of his or her district and of the state. A director shall have one vote on the board. The term of office of a director elected under this subsection shall be 3 years except as provided under par. (b)
. No director may serve more than 2 consecutive full terms.
Of the directors first elected to the board, one-third, each from a different district, shall serve for a one-year term; one-third, each from a different district, shall serve for a 2-year term; and one-third plus any remaining number, each from a different district, shall serve for a 3-year term. The directors first elected to the board shall take office when certified as elected by the interim board under s. 199.12 (7) (e)
. The interim board of directors shall designate the length of the first terms under s. 199.11 (2) (g)
A director shall be a resident of the district he or she represents and a member of the corporation. No person who is a director, employee or agent or who is a member of the immediate family of a director, employee or agent of any public utility is eligible to be a director. No director may hold any elective position, be a candidate for any elective position, or be a state public official as defined in s. 19.42 (14)
The board shall hold regular meetings at least once every 3 months on such dates and at such places as it may determine. Special meetings may be called by the president or by a majority of the directors upon at least 5 days' advance written notice. A majority of the directors shall constitute a quorum. A majority vote of the directors present shall determine any question. If the vote is a tie vote, the question shall fail. A summary of the minutes of every board meeting shall be distributed to all public libraries in the state.
A director may not receive any compensation for his or her services but shall be reimbursed for wages actually lost in an amount not to exceed $50 per day and for necessary expenses, including travel expenses incurred in the discharge of duties. The board shall establish standard allowances for mileage, room and meals and the purposes for which such allowances may be made and shall determine the reasonableness and necessity for such reimbursements. The board shall include the schedule of such standard allowances in the annual report under s. 199.07 (4) (d)
Directors and employees eligible to disburse funds shall be bonded. The costs of such bonds shall be paid by the corporation.
The members of a director's district may file a petition for recall of the director no sooner than 6 months after his or her election and not later than 6 months prior to the end of the director's term of office. To be valid the petition shall have the valid signatures of at least 33 percent of the vote cast in the director's district in the last preceding director election. The signatures may not have a date which is less than 60 days before the date of filing.
Upon receipt of a valid petition under par. (a)
, or if a vacancy occurs under s. 199.12 (7) (g)
, the board shall set a date for a special election for the district for the purpose of electing a director to serve out the term of a director subject to recall or vacating a position and shall so notify every member. The election may not be less than 4 months nor more than 6 months after such notification. An election under this section shall be conducted under s. 199.12
A director subject to recall may become a candidate in an election under this section. A director subject to recall shall continue to serve until the board certifies a candidate elected under s. 199.12 (7) (e)
History: 1979 c. 72
Duties of directors.
The board shall have the following duties:
To establish the policy of the corporation regarding appearances before regulatory agencies, legislative bodies and other public authorities, and regarding other activities which the corporation has the authority to perform under this chapter.
To employ an executive director under s. 199.075
who shall have the following powers and duties, subject at all times to the direction and supervision of the board:
To implement the policy established by the board under sub. (1)
To employ and discharge employees of the corporation.
To supervise the offices, facilities and work of the employees of the corporation.
To have custody of and maintain the books, records and membership rolls of the corporation under this chapter.
To prepare and submit to the board annual and quarterly statements of the financial and substantive operations of the corporation, and financial estimates for the future operations of the corporation.
To attend and participate in meetings of the board as a nonvoting director.
To file annually with the board a current financial statement which includes the information required under s. 199.12 (4)
To exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as the board delegates.
To hold an annual meeting of the membership on a date and at a place within the state to be determined by the board under s. 199.08
Quarterly statements of the financial and substantive operations of the corporation.
An audit of the corporation's books at least once each fiscal year. The audit shall be by a certified public accountant.
An annual report of the corporation's financial and substantive operations. The corporation shall prepare the report at the close of the corporation's fiscal year and shall distribute the report to each member and to each public library in the state.
An annual report on the past and projected activities and policies of the corporation. The corporation shall present the report to the membership at the annual membership meeting.
To establish and make available to the public a written policy on the availability and distribution of all records required to be kept by the corporation under this chapter.
To carry out all other duties and responsibilities imposed upon the corporation and the board under this chapter.
To establish a policy on consumer education concerning utility service costs and benefits and methods of energy conservation by any of the following methods, without limitation because of enumeration:
Presentation of energy conservation training sessions open to the public.
Preparation and dissemination of newsletters and other informational material on utility service costs and energy conservation.
Installation and advertisement of a toll free telephone line service to answer citizen inquiries on utility service costs and energy conservation.
To publicize the activities of the corporation under sub. (7)
History: 1979 c. 72
Director statement of financial interest.
Every director shall file annually with the board a current financial statement which includes the information required under s. 199.12 (4)
History: 1979 c. 72
Executive director; qualifications; method of hire. 199.075(1)(1)
The executive director hired by the board under s. 199.07
shall have the same qualifications as a director under s. 199.06 (2)
, except that the executive director need not be a resident of this state nor a member of the corporation. The executive director may not be a candidate for director while serving as executive director.
Notify every member and the public at large of a vacancy in the position of executive director of the corporation and the minimum qualifications necessary to perform the job. The notice shall be distributed at least 30 days prior to any deadline set for applications for the position.
Administer to all applicants for the position of executive director of the corporation who appear to have the minimum qualifications enumerated in the notice of the vacancy under par. (a)
a standard examination which accurately measures such qualifications and which is designed for no other purpose. The examination may include but may not be limited to an oral interview. If any person eligible to take the examination under this paragraph is unable to complete the examination in the form presented to the person due to a physical or developmental disability, the board shall administer the examination in a form suitable to the person's abilities.
Notify all applicants for the position of executive director of the corporation who are not hired under this section of the name of the person hired and the person's qualifications for the position.
Adhere to subch. II of ch. 111
and any other applicable state or federal law prohibiting discrimination in employment.
The board shall require all applicants for the position of executive director of the corporation to file a financial statement which includes the information required under s. 199.12 (4)
. The board shall require the executive director to file a current statement annually.
History: 1979 c. 72
; 1981 c. 334
s. 25 (2)
Annual membership meeting.
All members shall be eligible to attend, participate in and vote in the annual membership meeting called by the board under s. 199.07 (3)
. The form of the meeting shall be as provided under subch. VII of ch. 181
. The meeting shall be open to the public and shall be held in different districts on a rotating basis.
History: 1979 c. 72
; 1997 a. 79
Conduct of procedure.
If the corporation intervenes or participates in any proceeding, it shall be subject to all laws and rules of procedure of general applicability governing the conduct of the proceeding and the rights of intervenors and participants.
History: 1979 c. 72
Mailing procedure. 199.10(1)
In this section “enclosure" means a card, leaflet, envelope or combination thereof furnished by the corporation under this section. To accomplish its duty under s. 199.05 (1)
, the corporation, subject to the following limitations, may prepare and furnish to any investor-owned Class A public utility a statement to be printed upon the face of the public utility's periodic customer billing or an enclosure:
An enclosure or statement furnished by the corporation under this section may not be submitted to the utility less than 21 calendar days in advance of the date of the public utility's periodic customer billing.
An enclosure shall be of a size compatible with the utility's mailing envelope, shall otherwise conform to the specifications of the utility's billing enclosure inserting equipment and may not exceed in total weight .5 ounce avoir.
A statement furnished by the corporation under this section shall be of a size compatible with the utility's normal periodic billing.
An enclosure or statement furnished by the corporation under this section shall be limited to informing the reader of the purpose, nature and activities of the corporation and informing the reader that the utility consumer billed and others in his or her household may contribute money to the corporation directly. The enclosure or statement shall have the character of a circular and may not have the character of a bill, statement of account or personal correspondence.
The corporation may not furnish any enclosure or statement to a public utility under this section unless the enclosure or statement has been approved by the public service commission under sub. (2m)
Except as provided under pars. (b)
, any public utility furnished with a statement or enclosure under sub. (1)
shall print or otherwise include or enclose such statement or enclosure within, upon or attached to the periodic customer billing which the public utility mails or delivers to any residential consumer.
No public utility may be required to include a statement or enclosure under sub. (1)
in its periodic billing more than 2 times per year.
No public utility whose normal periodic customer billing method is by postcard may be required to mail an enclosure of the corporation under par. (a)
Prior to furnishing a statement or enclosure to a utility under sub. (1)
, the corporation shall submit the statement or enclosure to the public service commission. The public service commission shall approve the statement or enclosure if it determines that the statement or enclosure is not false or misleading and that the statement or enclosure satisfies the requirements of this section.
If the weight of a public utility's periodic customer billing, when combined with the corporation's statements or other enclosures under sub. (1)
, exceeds one ounce avoir, the corporation shall reimburse the public utility for the proportion of the total postage cost of the billing which is equal to the corporation's proportion of the total weight of the billing. The corporation shall promptly reimburse with interest at the current prime rate each public utility for all other reasonable costs incurred by the public utility, above the utility's normal billing costs, in complying with this section. The corporation may postpone for 3 months after the date of the first election of directors under s. 199.12
reimbursement of the public utilities for all costs incurred through the date of such election. If any public utility is unable to collect any amount due from the corporation under this section within 3 months after the date the amount is due, the public utility may refuse further requests to mail an enclosure until the amount is paid.
A dispute arising from the operation of this section shall be resolved by negotiations between the corporation and the public utility if possible, or by a civil proceeding in circuit court. Neither the public utility nor the corporation may fail to comply with this chapter by reason of the existence of such a dispute.
No person may interfere or threaten to interfere with or cause any interference with the utility service of or penalize or threaten to penalize or cause to be penalized any person who contributes to the corporation or participates in any of its activities, in retribution for such contribution or participation.
No person may act with intent to prevent, interfere with or hinder the activities permitted under s. 199.10
A person who violates this section may be fined not more than $1,000. Each such violation shall constitute a separate and continuing violation of this chapter. A person who knowingly and willfully violates this section may be imprisoned not more than 6 months.
History: 1979 c. 72
Appointment of interim directors. 199.11(1)
Within 90 days after November 29, 1979 an interim board of directors shall be nominated by the governor, and with the advice and consent of the senate appointed to serve until the board is first elected under s. 199.12
as follows: one director shall be nominated by the governor; 2 directors each shall be nominated by the governor from each list of not more than 5 names per director position submitted individually by the president of the senate and the speaker of the assembly; one director each shall be nominated from each list of not more than 5 names submitted individually by the majority leader of the senate and the majority leader of the assembly and by the minority leader of the senate and the minority leader of the assembly. No person who is a director, employee or agent of any public utility is eligible to be a director appointed under this section. No interim director appointed under this section may hold an elective position, be a candidate for any elective position, or be a state public official as defined in s. 19.42 (14)
. No interim director may be a candidate in the first election under s. 199.12
The interim board appointed under this section shall:
As soon as possible after appointment, organize for the transaction of business.
Inform the residential utility consumers of this state of the existence, nature and purposes of the corporation, and encourage residential utility consumers to join the corporation, to participate in the corporation's activities and to contribute to the corporation.