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196.796 History History: 1999 a. 9; 2003 a. 320.
196.80 196.80 Consolidation or merger of utilities.
196.80(1g) (1g) In this section, "public utility" does not include a telecommunications utility.
196.80(1m) (1m) With the consent and approval of the commission but not otherwise a public utility may:
196.80(1m)(a) (a) Merge or consolidate with one or more other public utilities.
196.80(1m)(b) (b) Acquire the stock of any other public utility or any part thereof.
196.80(1m)(d) (d) Consolidate or merge with any Wisconsin corporation if substantially all of the assets of the corporation consist of the entire stock of the public utility. The total of the resulting securities outstanding of the possessor corporation which have not been authorized previously under ch. 201 shall require authorization under ch. 201 as a condition precedent to the merger or consolidation.
196.80(1m)(e) (e) Sell, acquire, lease or rent any public utility plant or property constituting an operating unit or system.
196.80(2) (2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect or limit the operation of ss. 197.01 to 197.10 or of ss. 62.69, 66.0621 and 66.0801 to 66.0827.
196.80(3) (3) The interested public utility shall make an application for the approval and consent of the commission under this section. The application shall contain a concise statement of the proposed action, the reasons for the action and any other information required by the commission. If an application is filed, the commission shall investigate the application. The investigation may be with or without public hearing. If the commission conducts a public hearing, the hearing shall be upon such notice as the commission may require. If the commission finds that the proposed action is consistent with the public interest, it shall give its consent and approval in writing. In reaching its determination the commission shall take into consideration the reasonable value of the property and assets of the corporation to be acquired or merged.
196.80(5) (5) Any transaction required under this section to be submitted to the commission for its consent and approval shall be void unless the commission gives its consent and approval to the transaction in writing.
196.80(6) (6) Nothing in this section may be construed to limit any authority conferred by statute upon the commission before June 27, 1935.
196.80 History History: 1977 c. 29; 1983 a. 53; 1993 a. 496; 1997 a. 140; 1999 a. 150 ss. 647, 672.
196.807 196.807 Energy affiliate and utility employees.
196.807(1)(1) Definitions. In this section:
196.807(1)(a) (a) "Affiliate or utility" means a nonutility affiliate, holding company system, public utility or cooperative association organized under ch. 185 or 193.
196.807(1)(b) (b) "Energy unit" means a unit in this state that is engaged in activities related to the production, generation, transmission or distribution of electricity, gas or steam or the recovery of energy from waste materials.
196.807(1)(c) (c) "Holding company system" has the meaning given in s. 196.795 (1) (i).
196.807(1)(d) (d) "Nonutility affiliate" has the meaning given in s. 196.795 (1) (j).
196.807(1)(e) (e) "Public utility affiliate" has the meaning given in s. 196.795 (1) (L).
196.807(1)(f) (f) "Sell an energy unit" means to sell, offer by lease, or otherwise transfer ownership or control of the energy unit.
196.807(1)(fg) (fg) "Transmission company" has the meaning given in s. 196.485 (1) (ge).
196.807(1)(fr) (fr) "Transmission utility" has the meaning given in s. 196.485 (1) (i).
196.807(1)(g) (g) "Unit" means a division, department or other operational business unit of an affiliate or utility.
196.807(2) (2)Offer of employment.
196.807(2)(a)(a) Except as provided in par. (b), a person may not sell an energy unit unless the terms of the transfer require the person to which the energy unit is transferred to offer employment to the nonsupervisory employees who are employed with the energy unit immediately prior to the transfer and who are necessary for the operation and maintenance of the energy unit.
196.807(2)(b)1.1. A public utility affiliate may not sell an energy unit to a nonutility affiliate in the same holding company system unless the terms of the transfer require the nonutility affiliate to offer employment to all of the nonsupervisory employees who are employed with the energy unit immediately prior to the transfer.
196.807(2)(b)2. 2. A transmission company to which an energy unit is sold by a transmission utility shall, beginning on the expiration of the 3-year period specified in s. 196.485 (3m) (a) 1. b. or, if applicable, the expiration of any extension of such 3-year period, offer employment to the nonsupervisory employees who are employed with the energy unit immediately prior to the transfer and who are necessary for the operation and maintenance of the energy unit.
196.807(3) (3)Employment terms and conditions.
196.807(3)(a)(a) Except as provided in par. (b), the employment that is offered under sub. (2) shall satisfy each of the following during the 30-month period beginning immediately after the transfer:
196.807(3)(a)1. 1. Wage rates shall be no less than the wage rates in effect immediately prior to the transfer.
196.807(3)(a)2. 2. Fringe benefits shall be substantially equivalent to the fringe benefits in effect immediately prior to the transfer.
196.807(3)(a)3. 3. Terms and conditions of employment, other than wage rates and fringe benefits, shall be substantially equivalent to the terms and conditions in effect immediately prior to the transfer.
196.807(3)(b) (b) A collective bargaining agreement may modify or waive a requirement specified in par. (a).
196.807(4) (4)Commission approval. Except for a cooperative association, as defined in s. 196.491 (1) (bm), or a transmission utility that sells an energy unit to a transmission company, no person may sell an energy unit unless the commission determines that the person has satisfied subs. (2) and (3).
196.807 History History: 1999 a. 9; 2005 a. 441.
196.81 196.81 Abandonment; commission approval required.
196.81(1)(1) No public utility may abandon or discontinue any line or extension or service thereon without first securing the approval of the commission. In granting its approval, the commission may impose any term, condition or requirement it deems necessary to protect the public interest. If a public utility abandons or discontinues a line or extension or service thereon upon receiving commission approval, the public utility shall be deemed to have waived any objection to any term, condition or requirement imposed by the commission in granting the approval.
196.81(2) (2) The commission may not approve a request by an electric or telecommunications utility to abandon a right-of-way, unless the commission requires the public utility to remove any pole at ground level from the right-of-way and any other structure which extends more than 3 feet above ground level and which belongs to the utility at the time of abandonment. If the commission approves a request under this section it shall require any part of the abandoned right-of-way which is in a rural area and which was obtained by the utility by condemnation to be disposed of by the utility within 3 years from the date of approval. The commission may rescind the disposal requirement if the utility applies for rescission within 6 months prior to the end of the 3-year period and if the commission finds that the requirement would subject the utility to undue hardship.
196.81(3) (3) This section does not apply to any of the following:
196.81(3)(a) (a) A service discontinuance by a public utility that is a telecommunications provider.
196.81(3)(b) (b) A public utility's removal, at the request of a customer, of the customer's electric service drop or electric or steam service lateral, including any primary voltage or steam line that is used exclusively to serve the customer requesting the removal.
196.84 196.84 Commission's holding company and nonutility affiliate regulation costs. Under rules promulgated by the commission, a holding company, as defined in s. 196.795 (1) (h) or a nonutility affiliate, as defined under s. 196.795 (1) (j), shall compensate the commission for the cost of any increase in regulation of any public utility affiliate, as defined under s. 196.795 (1) (L), which is with the holding company or nonutility affiliate in a holding company system as defined in s. 196.795 (1) (i), if the commission determines that the increase is reasonably required in order for the commission to implement and enforce s. 196.795. Such compensation may not be recovered directly or indirectly from any public utility affiliate. The commission shall assess such compensation using the procedure prescribed in s. 196.85, except that no advance payment of a remainder assessment under s. 196.85 (2) may be required for the first 2 fiscal years after November 28, 1985. No assessment may be made under this section against any holding company or nonutility affiliate for any time worked by any person under s. 196.795 (10m) if the time is properly assessable for utility regulation under s. 196.85. For the purpose of calculating cost increases under this section, 90% of the cost increases determined shall be costs of the commission and 10% of the cost increases determined shall be costs of state government operations.
196.84 History History: 1985 a. 79; 1991 a. 269.
196.84 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See also ch. PSC 6, Wis. adm. code.
196.85 196.85 Payment of commission's expenditures.
196.85(1) (1)
196.85(1)(a)(a) If the commission in a proceeding upon its own motion, on complaint, or upon an application to it deems it necessary in order to carry out the duties imposed upon it by law to investigate the books, accounts, practices, and activities of, or make appraisals of the property of any public utility, power district, or sewerage system or to render any engineering or accounting services to any public utility, power district, or sewerage system, the public utility, power district, or sewerage system shall pay the expenses attributable to the investigation, including the cost of litigation, appraisal, or service. The commission shall mail a bill for the expenses to the public utility, power district, or sewerage system either at the conclusion of the investigation, appraisal, or services, or during its progress. The bill constitutes notice of the assessment and demand of payment. The public utility, power district, or sewerage system shall, within 30 days after the mailing of the bill, pay to the commission the amount of the special expense for which it is billed. Ninety percent of the payment shall be credited to the appropriation account under s. 20.155 (1) (g).
196.85(1)(b) (b) Except as provided in sub. (1m) (a), the total amount in any one calendar year for which any public utility, power district, or sewerage system is liable under this subsection, by reason of costs incurred by the commission within the calendar year, including charges under s. 201.10 (3), may not exceed four-fifths of one percent of its gross operating revenues derived from intrastate operations in the last preceding calendar year.
196.85(1)(c) (c) Nothing in this subsection shall prevent the commission from rendering bills in one calendar year for costs incurred within a previous year.
196.85(1)(d) (d) For the purpose of calculating the costs of investigations, appraisals, and other services under this subsection, 90% of the costs determined shall be costs of the commission and 10% of the costs determined shall be costs of state government operations.
196.85(1m) (1m)
196.85(1m)(a)(a) For the purpose of direct assessment under sub. (1) of expenses incurred by the commission in connection with its activities under s. 196.491, the term "public utility" includes electric utilities, as defined in s. 196.491 (1) (d). Subsection (1) (b) does not apply to assessments for the commission's activities under s. 196.491 related to the construction of wholesale merchant plants.
196.85(1m)(b) (b) For the purpose of direct assessment under sub. (1) of expenses incurred by the commission in connection with its activities under s. 196.04 (4), the term "public utility" includes a video service provider.
196.85(1m)(c) (c) For the purpose of direct assessment under sub. (1) of expenses incurred by the commission in connection with its activities under s. 66.0821 (5) (a) or 200.59 (5) (a) that are initiated under s. 281.49 (11) (d), the term "sewerage system" includes a licensed disposer as defined in s. 281.49 (1) (b).
196.85(1m)(d) (d) For the purpose of direct assessment under sub. (1) of expenses incurred by the commission in connection with its activities under s. 182.017, the term "public utility" includes a company, as defined in s. 182.017 (1g) (b).
196.85(2) (2) The commission shall annually, within 90 days of the commencement of each fiscal year, calculate the total of its expenditures during the prior fiscal year which are reasonably attributable to the performance of its duties relating to public utilities, sewerage systems and power districts under this chapter and chs. 66, 198 and 201 and expenditures of the state for state government operations to support the performance of such duties. For purposes of such calculation, 90% of the expenditures so determined shall be expenditures of the commission and 10% of the expenditures so determined shall be expenditures for state government operations. The commission shall deduct from this total all amounts chargeable to public utilities, sewerage systems and power districts under sub. (1) and s. 201.10 (3). The commission shall assess a sum equal to the remainder plus 10% of the remainder to the public utilities and power districts in proportion to their respective gross operating revenues during the last calendar year, derived from intrastate operations. If, at the time of payment, the prior year's expenditures made under this section exceeded the payment made under this section in the prior year, the commission shall charge the remainder to the public utilities and power districts in proportion to their gross operating revenues during the last calendar year. If, at the time of payment it is determined that the prior year's expenditures made under this section were less than the payment made under this section in the prior year, the commission shall credit the difference to the current year's payment. The assessment shall be paid within 30 days after the bill has been mailed to the public utilities and power districts. The bill constitutes notice of the assessment and demand of payment. Ninety percent of the payment shall be credited to the appropriation account under s. 20.155 (1) (g).
196.85(2e) (2e) Annually, the commission shall assess a joint local water authority for the commission's costs under s. 66.0823 (8) directly attributable to that joint local water authority. The commission shall bill the joint local water authority for the amount of the assessment.
196.85(3) (3) If any public utility, sewerage system, joint local water authority, or power district is billed under sub. (1), (2), or (2e) and fails to pay the bill within 30 days or fails to file objections to the bill with the commission, as provided in sub. (4), the commission shall transmit to the secretary of administration a certified copy of the bill, together with notice of failure to pay the bill, and on the same day the commission shall mail by registered mail to the public utility, sewerage system, joint local water authority, or power district a copy of the notice that it has transmitted to the state treasurer. Within 10 days after receipt of the notice and certified copy of the bill, the secretary of administration shall levy the amount stated on the bill to be due, with interest, by distress and sale of any property, including stocks, securities, bank accounts, evidences of debt, and accounts receivable belonging to the delinquent public utility, sewerage system, joint local water authority, or power district. The levy by distress and sale shall be governed by s. 74.10, 1985 stats., except that it shall be made by the secretary of administration and that goods and chattels anywhere within the state may be levied upon.
196.85(4) (4)
196.85(4)(a)(a) Within 30 days after the date of the mailing of any bill under sub. (1), (2), or (2e), the public utility, sewerage system, joint local water authority, or power district that has been billed may file with the commission objections setting out in detail the grounds upon which the objector regards the bill to be excessive, erroneous, unlawful, or invalid. The commission, after notice to the objector, shall hold a hearing upon the objections, from 5 to 10 days after providing the notice. If after the hearing the commission finds any part of the bill to be excessive, erroneous, unlawful, or invalid, it shall record its findings upon its minutes and transmit to the objector by registered mail an amended bill, in accordance with the findings. The amended bill shall have the same force and effect under this section as an original bill rendered under sub. (1), (2), or (2e).
196.85(4)(b) (b) If after such hearing the commission finds the entire bill unlawful or invalid it shall notify the objector by registered mail of such determination, in which case said original bill shall be deemed null and void.
196.85(4)(c) (c) If after such hearing the commission finds that the bill as rendered is neither excessive, erroneous, unlawful or invalid either in whole or in part it shall record such findings upon its minutes, and transmit to the objector by registered mail notice of such finding.
196.85(4)(d) (d) If any bill against which objections have been filed is not paid within 10 days after notice of a finding that the objections have been overruled and disallowed by the commission has been mailed to the objector as provided in this subsection, the commission shall give notice of the delinquency to the secretary of administration and to the objector, in the manner provided in sub. (3). The secretary of administration shall then proceed to collect the amount of the delinquent bill as provided in sub. (3). If an amended bill is not paid within 10 days after a copy of the amended bill is mailed to the objector by registered mail, the commission shall notify the secretary of administration and the objector as in the case of delinquency in the payment of an original bill. The secretary of administration shall then proceed to collect the amount of the amended bill as provided in the case of an original bill.
196.85(5) (5) No suit or proceeding may be maintained in any court to restrain or delay the collection or payment of any bill rendered under sub. (1), (2), or (2e). Every public utility, sewerage system, joint local water authority, or power district that is billed shall pay the amount of the bill, and after payment may in the manner provided under this section, at any time within 2 years from the date the payment was made, sue the state to recover the amount paid plus interest from the date of payment, upon the ground that the assessment was excessive, erroneous, unlawful, or invalid in whole or in part. If the court finds that any part of the bill for which payment was made was excessive, erroneous, unlawful, or invalid, the secretary of administration shall make a refund to the claimant as directed by the court. The refund shall be charged to the appropriations to the commission.
196.85(6) (6) No action for recovery of any amount paid pursuant to this section shall be maintained in any court unless objections have been filed with the commission as herein provided. In any action for recovery of any payments made under this section the claimant shall be entitled to raise every relevant issue of law, but the commission's findings of fact made pursuant to this section shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated.
196.85(7) (7) The following shall be deemed to be findings of fact of the commission, within the meaning of this section:
196.85(7)(a)(a) Determinations of fact expressed in bills rendered pursuant to this section; (b) determinations of fact set out in those minutes of the commission which record the action of the commission in passing upon said bills, and in passing upon objections thereto.
196.85(8) (8) The procedure by this section providing for determining the lawfulness of bills and the recovery back of payments made pursuant to such bills shall be exclusive of all other remedies and procedures.
196.85 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See also ch. PSC 5, Wis. adm. code.
196.85 Note NOTE: 2005 Wis. Act 347, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
196.85 Annotation Revenue from "intrastate operations" under sub. (2) includes revenue from interstate telecommunications originating within the state. MCI Telecommunications Corp. v. State, 209 Wis. 2d 310, 562 N.W.2d 594 (1997), 95-0915.
196.855 196.855 Assessment of costs against municipalities. Any expense incurred by the commission in making any appraisal or investigation of public utility property under ch. 197 shall be charged directly to the municipality making the application. The commission shall ascertain the expense, and shall render and review any bill under s. 196.85 insofar as applicable. For the purpose of calculating the expense, 90% of the costs determined shall be costs of the commission and 10% of the costs determined shall be costs of state government operations. If a bill under this section is not paid within the time required by s. 196.85, the bill shall bear interest at the rate of 6% per year and the amount of the bill and the interest shall be certified to the department of administration and shall be levied and collected as a special charge in the same manner as a state tax.
196.855 History History: 1979 c. 110 s. 60 (13); 1983 a. 53; 1991 a. 269.
196.857 196.857 Stray voltage program.
196.857(1g) (1g) Program elements.
196.857(1g)(a)(a) The commission shall establish and administer a stray voltage program. The program shall focus on regulation, education, inspection and investigation relating to stray voltage.
196.857(1g)(b) (b) The commission shall identify standardized test procedures check lists and equipment to be used by public utilities to investigate stray voltage. The commission may audit the results of investigations.
196.857(1g)(c) (c) The commission shall conduct classroom and on-farm stray voltage training sessions for public utilities, cooperatives, electricians or other interested parties.
196.857(1g)(d) (d) The commission shall conduct unannounced spot checks of on-farm stray voltage testing done by public utilities if the farmer gives permission for the check at the time the farm is visited. The commission may inspect the operation of public utility stray voltage programs to ensure that proper equipment and procedures are being used and to ensure that investigators are properly trained.
196.857(1g)(e) (e) In cooperation with the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection, the commission shall investigate the causes of stray voltage on individual farms, recommend to farmers solutions to stray voltage problems and evaluate the effectiveness of on-site technical assistance.
196.857(1m) (1m)Assessments. The commission shall assess annually all of the following amounts to public utilities which produce electricity and which have annual gross operating revenues related to electricity in excess of $100,000,000 in proportion to their respective electric gross operating revenues during the last calendar year, derived from intrastate operations:
196.857(1m)(a) (a) The amount appropriated under s. 20.155 (1) (L), less any amount received under s. 20.155 (1) (Lb) and less any fees received under sub. (2k) and credited to the appropriation under s. 20.155 (1) (L). The amounts received under this paragraph shall be credited to the appropriation made in s. 20.155 (1) (L).
196.857(1m)(b) (b) The amount appropriated under s. 20.115 (3) (j), less any fees received from farmers under sub. (2g) and credited to the appropriation account under s. 20.115 (3) (j). The amounts received under this paragraph shall be credited to the appropriation account under s. 20.115 (3) (j).
196.857(2) (2)Due date. A public utility shall pay the total amount that it is assessed under sub. (1m) within 30 days after it receives a bill for that amount from the commission. The bill constitutes notice of the assessment and demand of payment.
196.857(2g) (2g)Farm services fees. The commission may charge reasonable fees not to exceed $300 per farm for services provided to farmers under this section. The fees shall be in accordance with a standardized schedule of fees established by the commission by rule. The fees collected under this subsection shall be credited to the appropriation account under s. 20.115 (3) (j) in each fiscal year.
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2011-12 Wisconsin Statutes updated though 2013 Wis. Act 200 and all Supreme Court Orders entered before April 18, 2014. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after April 18, 2014 are designated by NOTES. (Published 4-18-14)