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Silent Treatment

Controversial Transmission Line  
Locks-in Billions in Costs
for Decades of CO2 Increases


1. Conflicts with Utility Interests Dispensed

      On September 26, 2019, the largest out-pouring of citizens, public intervenors and elected officials participating in a utility case in Wisconsin history, the Cardinal Hickory Creek high transmission line (CHC), was met by a well known, defense mechanism: the silent treatment.
      Granted, the three, politically appointed Commissioners of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSCW) faced a challenging agenda on that day. Before taking up discussion of their final decision concerning the transmission line, they took up a motion requesting that two Commissioners recuse themselves from the final CHC decision on the basis of conflicts of interests.1

      In arguing his defense, PSCW Commissioner Mike Huebsch contended that his past involvement with regional, utility-funded, energy planning through MISO2 does not constitute a conflict of interest because his MISO discussions do not pertain,“to any specific project.” Huebsch did not account for the fact that transmission builders used MISO energy planning under his review in 2017 for the 2018 CHC proposal he was about to vote on again. After refusing to recuse himself, Commissioner Huebsch turned to the ratepayers at the meeting and blamed those parties for having conflicting goals,

If you like renewable energy, you like transmission lines . And if you believe that this transmission line that we put up is the last you are going to have to deal with, you are wrong.
 3 4 

      The public intervenors’ recusal motion asked recently appointed PSC Commissioner Rebecca Valcq to explain how she was not conflicted by many years as a lawyer working for a Wisconsin utility who owns a large majority of a transmission company that would profit from CHC. In response, Commissioner Valcq asked the public to trust her professional abilities to not be biased. She expressed regret that her reputation had been questioned in the papers and on the radio and asked that such insinuations be treated as contempt.

2. Public Input Dispensed

      Next on the meeting agenda was the substance of the CHC proposal where Commissioners were expected to share reasoning used in reaching their final decision. Without preamble or discussion, the Commissioners quickly moved to approve their draft decision on the CHC project. Then, with only three, “aye’s,” years of intensive work by a record number of citizens, public intervenors and PSC staff passed, in the blink of an eye as if none of this had never occurred.

      Given the enormous consequences and the sheer number of top notch, experts the final decision for CHC should have been the most significant energy planning document in Wisconsin history. Unfortunately, Wisconsinites concerned about land impacts, CO2 emissions, climate change, electric bills, energy efficiency and solar affordability must now examine what the Commissioners’ omitted due to lacking, ”credibility and likeliness.”

3. Environmental Protections Dismissed

      Thousands attending public hearings or writing comments were adamantly concerned about the environmental harm CHC would bring to the ancient lands of Driftless Wisconsin and the region's economic well being. With due respect to the heritage and futures of these lands, here is a list of prudent protections the Commissioners ignored:
  • The protection of 2,500 acres of ancient, cultural and natural habitats resting immediately under existing low voltage wires from steady disruption of bush whacking, helicopter sawing, herbicide spraying, soil compaction and forest clearing.
  • The protection of 70,000 acres or 110 square miles of homes, businesses, schools, farmettes, century farms, parks, trails, village and city lots resting adjacent to or within a half mile view of 170 foot high towers. These dearest of properties risk value losses from 5-45% of their market value estimated at $90 million.
  • The protection of a growing tourism industry that brought more than $100 million to SW Wisconsin in 2018. This puts billions of revenue and jobs at risk if CHC detracts only few percent of tourist interest.
  • The protection of one of North America’s greatest wonders and natural assets, the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge and associated flyway where nearly half of our migrating birds pass or reside.
  • The traditional honor of protecting home and community for tens of thousands of residents. This potential loss has already started an exodus as properties lose their intrinsic rural/natural value and become unmarketable.
  • Increasing protections from power losses associated with extreme weather events thay national experts proposed through faster development of home and local power generation. Instead, Commissioners banked on the other direction, increasing public vulnerabilities to the grid.

4. Energy Cost Oversight Dismissed

      The Commissioners’ September 26th decision contains no mention of Wisconsin state lawmakers who repeatedly and respectfully asked for financial accountability. On March 8, 2019, seven lawmakers representing both parties signed a letter to PSC Commissioners asking them to first examine the economic outcomes of the seven expansion transmission lines previously built before moving ahead with an eighth. Dismissal of this request is plain and simple fiscal irresponsibility.

      Similar to the Commissioners’ excisions in their verbal and written documentation, utilities also tried to keep harmful evident from getting into the record. Under oath, at least three utility witnesses very familiar with price impacts on the Midwest electricity market, insisted they did not know if wholesale prices of electricity had generally increased or decreased over the last decade. Wholesale pricing is well-documented; utilities prefer that discussion about it is not.

      Since Wisconsin joined the regional electricity market in 2005, wholesale pricing of electricity across the Midwest has dropped about 50%. In contrast, over the same time period, the price that Wisconsin customers were forced to pay for power increased 50% including encompassing rate and fee hikes.
 7  8
      The reason behind this contradiction between wholesale price plummeting and ratepayer cost soaring is very well known within utility circles. After the new market came into play, state utility Commissions let transmission builders off the leash in hopes of the expansion lines accessing lower cost power. In Wisconsin, the gamble on expansion transmission lines cost ratepayer an average of $428 million per year.
      Translated into impacts on electric bills, nearly all of the rate and fee increases are due to these transmission and power plant purchases. Utilities make these purchases using high interest, 40 year loans that Wisconsin ratepayers are just starting to pay down. In short, all utilities no longer earn principal profit from selling power, they make it from “putting new steel in the ground” and getting 10-14% guaranteed return with our electric bills securing this debt.
      Ratepayers and businesses tend to notice 50% price increases. Ratepayers also notice when rates continue to rise after many transmission lines advertised to “increase access to cheap wind power,” are up and running.

      While Commissioners are content to parrot non-committal, utility wording, like “increase access,” CHC intervenors need to see actual impacts. Annual reports by Potomac Economics independently measuring electric market performance are a good, factual source. In 2011, electric power made available to MISO/Midwest market customers averaged 5.2% wind power and 74% fossil fuel generation. By 2018, after strapping regional electric customers with at least $18 billion in new expansion transmission lines, the available power averaged only 8% wind power with fossil fuel content dropping only 1% to 73%.
      The environmental performance is abysmal. Preventing this wasteful ploy is a function of Commissioners interpreting the utilities’ energy planning and then using public intervenor and staff alternatives to negotiate and improve the lot for ratepayers, the environment in balance with utility profits. Our Commissioners lack the awareness and skill to perform this essential role..

5. State Energy Planning Forfeited

      Despite energy planning being a law-designated outcome of CHC case, the term energy planning is conspicuously absent from the Commissioners’ decision.

      Also gone from the Commissioners’ final decision are the words, “CO2,” “emissions” and “climate,” even though a month earlier Commissioner Valcq publicly pronounced CHC as the, “cornerstone of a zero carbon future.”

      If Wisconsin is to reach this goal, it is paramount for electric customers to understand that the utility planning endorsed by Commissioners in the approval CHC aims to take the state in the opposite direction:
  • Contrary to flat and declining use over the past 10 years, utility interest planning assumes that Wisconsin’s electricity consumption over the next 40 years will increase 11% to 27% higher than current use. If this theoretical and unnecessary waste becomes reality, it would cost Wisconsin ratepayer $42 billion in added electricity charges.
     12 13
  • The utilities’ planning dismisses US Department of Energy findings that energy efficiency, dwelling improvements and home/local solar power have been the primary CO2 reducers since 2005.14 Wisconsin’s efficiency/solar rebates are at the bottom of Midwest states15 and utilities are happy about this. Their energy planning, embraced by the Commissioners, assumes that the number of homes and businesses going solar in coming years will not increase and that Wisconsin investment in energy efficiency rebates will stagnate or increase no more than 10%.16 These figures are not only unrealistic but are manipulated to eliminate CHC’s real competition, superior savings and CO2 reductions Non-Transmission Alternatives.

  • In addition to adding more transmission lines, utility planning contains a hidden budget of about $43 billion for new power plants used by Wisconsin.17 The transmission builders’ planning forecasts a blend of fossil fuel and renewable new power plants over the next 40 years they claim would avoid 36.3 million metric tons of Wisconsin CO2.18 “Millions” sounds like a lot, but the amount spread over 40 years is equivalent to a total of only 10 months of Wisconsin 2017 emission levels19 and it does not count the additional CO2 emissions spurred by increases in electricity use the utility planning assumes.

  • When the CO2 emissions produced by the extra 11-27% power usage are factored, the blend of future power plants that utility interests have ]assumed would add the equivalent of 6 years of Wisconsin CO2 emissions.

  • The actual cornerstone of Wisconsin (and MISO) energy planning should be economic accountability created by state lawmakers.20 State law minimally requires that new spending should at least pay for itself, in this case, over 40 years through energy cost and other savings. This ow bar set for utilities was seen as sufficient in 1998 to discourage obvious, unnecessary spending. Instead of recognizing that CHC does not meet the legal minimum, the Commissioners’ decision bypasses PSC staff findings that CHC would not recover its $2.2 billion cost21 over 40 years in 8 of 11 future scenarios they carefully studied.22 Under full transparency, none of the scenarios are capable of savings because utilities do not count the hidden tens of billions in added energy and power plant costs that utility energy planning assumes.

      Economically and environmentally, the Commissioners have chained a utility-profiting albatross around ratepayers’ necks in the name lower costs and lower CO2 emissions. Tellingly, in no place do transmission builders or Commissioners bluntly state that our bills or our emissions would be lower. They know their planning can’t defend these outcomes.

6. Modern Energy Economies Dismissed

      The Commissioners’ decision also ignored the extensive Non-Transmission Alternatives energy planning that SOUL engineer Bill Powers and other recognized engineers conducted. Powers’ planning is based on proven, end user investments to dramatically reduce use and create profound energy and CO2 savings.

      Based on expanding the Energy Efficiency and 40,000 home/business solar incentives in Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy Programadding new incentives for 47,000 inter-connected home battery systems and creating a solar+storage back-up power system for a community of 14,000 electric customers, Powers predicts 40 year avoided energy and other savings greater than $4 billion and CO2 emission reductions equivalent to 6.9 years, 9 times more than CHC reductions.

      Expanding Powers’ Non-Transmission Alternatives (NTA’s) installations and Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy (FOE) program to achieve zero carbon goals by 2050 would require about 36 NTA projects and tripling current FOE incentives. The total cost for this would be about a total cost of about $10.7 billion. Importantly, these costs would be recovered through energy costs savings and still leave profits for utilities to keep paying down debt on past investments. Powers’ energy planning closes down, instead of stimulates new fossil fuel power plants.

      One can see why most states are turning down expansion transmission line as old-school energy planning28. Utility planning for CHC, embraced by Commissioners assumes added costs of about $85 billion over 40 years and CO2 emissions increasing. The difference in job creation potential is also breathtaking because energy efficiency and small scale solar installations create from 3-6 times as many jobs per million dollars spent compared to transmission and other utility-scale building.

7. Keeping the Lights On, Affordably

      After the Commissioners steered clear of the PSC staff’s, high-performing, $900,000, Low Voltage Transmission Alternative (BWARA)29 in their public discussions on August 20, there was great anticipation of how Commissioners would account for BWARA in their final decision. The decision contains only two mentions, the second concluding, “the base with asset renewal alternative has also not been developed or studied in any detail other than as a modeling comparison to the project. Therefore, the Commission does not have any certainty based on the record that such an alternative is truly feasible or implementable.”

      It is hard to imagine a solution more straight-forward, more substantially studied, feasible or implementable; and it presents no new, negative environmental impacts. The Base With Asset Renewal Alternative (BWARA), poses slightly early rebuilding three,1950 era transmission lines at a cost of 1/360th of the CHC project. Rebuilding older lines is so routine that several were being re-built at the moment Commissioners penned their decision.

      The Commissioners also excluded BWARA from their discussion about future reliability. By its omission, Commissioners did not have to engage the sticky fact that the staff's alternative has comparable reliability performance to CHC at 1/360 of the cost.
8. Conclusion

      Let history properly read that on September 26, 2019, after four, painstaking years of tireless public initiatives, the PSCW Commissioners, going against the advice of their own staff, tried to render these public interests futile for all time. The ploy lasted about 40 seconds after their approval when citizens in attendance rose immediately to their feet. Risking arrest, each spoke one, simple sentence of fact from a lengthy list.
      The survival of our communities depends on regular people like these with good memories and strong will. No amount of clever language, omission and gaming can hide the accountabilities citizens are demanding and the legacies they are protecting.

      Commissioner Heubsch is right in that, CHC, even when successfully appealed, will not be the last, intrusion of many types proposed. The future will not become ours until we have established the rigors of accountable planning.

      State lawmakers, county supervisors, town chair persons, school teachers, newspaper editors, accountants, farmers, students, clergy, and community business persons, stand up, brush off your clothes and relish the common call. We have no choice. We are, in fact, defending our communities, our lands and our local economies.

1  DALC/WWF's Motion for Recusal and Disqualification,
2  The Midcontinent Independent System Operator is a non-profit organization assigned responsibilities to operate the electricity market in 2001. See . Annually, with suggestions from for-profit utilities, transmission builders, energy traders, state utility commissioners, large industry power users, wind power developers, power wholesalers and state consumer groups, a utility-funded plan to add power plants and transmission lines is created and approved at MISO’s discretion. The plan is approved by MISO’s Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) made up of 25 voting members. From 13-16 of the votes are controlled by members who stand to profit from the recommended new capital utility expansion spending the planning contains. PSCW Commissioner Huebsch participated in the long term, economic based energy planning in 2017 which was subsequently used by transmission builders as underlying energy planning in their application for Cardinal Hickory Creek transmission line proposal submitted to the Wisconsin PSC in April 2018.
3  By all standards, Wisconsin’ current transmission system supplies all of the power required. The power carrying capabilities of the state grid will automatically increase, very substantially, in coming years as the 1950, 60 and 70 era low voltage lines are updated with modern, more efficient wires. A key energy planning factor that Commissioner Huebsch seems to be overlooking is that 73% of grid capacity across the Midwest and, similarly in Wisconsin, is being used to transport fossil fuel generation with only 8% of consumed power as renewable energy (State of MISO Market, Potomac Economics, 2018). In his recusal memorandum, Commissioner Huebsch does not share what his renewable energy goals are or show awareness that the energy planning used by transmission builders to argue need for CHC assumes that more fossil fuel generation would be added to the state and regional grids.
4  At the time of this statement, Commissioner Huebsch was additionally qualified to make this assertion about MISO energy/transmission planning intentions as a key, voting member of MISO’s Planning Advisory Committee
5  At the September 26th meeting, Commissioner Nowak told those in attendance that despite the Commissioners’ inattention to public, intervenor, expert witness and PSC staff input in their final assessments that Commissioners had considered everything, equally, but found it to fail on basis of, “credibility and likeliness.”
6  SOUL of Wisconsin Initial Brief, Table 1, pdf p.4
7 MISO annual average “all-In” wholesale power costs from Potomac State of the MISO Market Reports, 2005-2017,
8  EIA Form 861- Table 8. Wisconsin Retail sales, revenue, and average retail price by sector, 1990 through 2017. Average residential rate was .1435 / kWh in 2017 which is 48% higher than the rate of .0966 /kWh in 2005. When approving new spending, utilities assumed energy use over this period would increase substantially and it did not. In order to keep up with payment on this debt under flat use, Wisconsin utilities convinced the PSCW to approve fee increases equivalent to 9% per year from 2012 to 2016.
9  According to MISO powerpoint presentation made in February 201 at the Customers First! Semi Annual Power Breakfast , Wisconsin electric customer transmission expansion costs from 2005 to 2016 averaged $428 million per year.
10   In its 2022 Strategic Energy Assessment, the Public Service Commission staff of Wisconsin conducted a fairly extensive examination of Rate Metrics and Cost Drivers. See data from Figure 25, Eight-year Annual Growth, Rate of Revenue .pdf p.51 graphed at:
12  Based on .4% to .6% per year net energy use increase from Table 25, MTEP17 FUTURES ASSUMPTIONS DOCUMENT, .pdf p. 36,
13  Relative to continuing historical, 2007-2017 use and 2017 Wisconsin consumption of 69,494,755 MWH . Extra cost computed using 2017 average rate without inflation.
14  Carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. power sector have declined 28% since 2005. EIA,
15  Wisconsin lags far behind other states in supporting Non-Wire Alternatives and Grid Modernizaton,
16  MTEP17 FUTURES ASSUMPTIONS DOCUMENT, pdf p.35, Table 11: DSM Program Impacts. Only “Low Cost” Energy Efficiency is selected and no categories are selected for Distributed Generation. The 10% cap in Energy Efficiency spending is outlined in an earlier planning presentation pdf.
17  Based on Wisconsin 15% share of $240 billion for Policy Regulation Future Scenario from MTEP17 FUTURES ASSUMPTIONS DOCUMENT, .pdf p. 37, Figure 27: Present Value Cumulative Costs (2016-2031)
19  EIA Form 861- Table 7. Electric power industry emissions estimates, 1990 through 2017. Increases based in 2017 CO2 emissions of 42.9 million Metric Tons,
20  196.49(3)(d)3t: “For a high-voltage transmission line that is designed for operation at a nominal voltage of 345 kilovolts or more, the high-voltage transmission line provides usage, service or increased regional reliability benefits to the wholesale and retail customers or members in this state and the benefits of the high-voltage transmission line are reasonable in relation to the cost of the high-voltage transmission line.”
21  Ex.-Applicants-Degenhardt-1 Total from the schedule on pdf p.2 was confirmed to be $2.2 billion in cross examination.
22  CHC Final Environmental Impact Statement, pdf p.148, Table 3-12, Comparison of monetized benefits and costs of the proposed Cardinal Hickory Creek project to Wisconsin customers, using a nominal 6.4 percent discount rate (numbers expressed in year 2018 millions of dollars);
23  Initial Brief of SOUL of Wisconsin in Opposition to the Application, TABLE 4: Components of Bill Powers’ $177 Million Optimized Non-Transmission Alternative,
24  Including $20 million in industrial load management, 40,000 residential solar installations, 47,000 residential battery storage installations, and a municipal utility community solar + storage facility proving back-up power for a community of 14,000 people rom TABLE 4: Components of Bill Powers’ $177 Million Optimized Non-Transmission Alternative,
25  See TABLE 5: Comparison of Economic Benefits and CO2 Reduction Capabilities of key Alternatives before the Commission. Initial Brief of SOUL of Wisconsin in Opposition to the Application, Powers’ NTA is estimated to eliminate 33.1 Million Metric Tons of CO2. The 6.9 year improvement in CO2 reductions compared to CHC is based on non NTA customer usage remaining flat at 2017 levels and Wisconsin CO2 emissions continuing to decline at the trend establish from 2005-2017.
26  Powers NTA’s have an estimated cost of $178 million, each. Tripling the current Focus on Energy incentives would cost about $130 million per year. $178M X 36 = $6.4B + 130M X 30 Years = $4.33B = 10.7B
27  States wth modern energy economies have de-coupled their energy efficiency programs to allow utilities to participate in the profits from avoided energy use.
28  See list of 10 projects on .pdf p.35 Additionally, the Verde line was rejected in New Mexico in August
29  The Base With Asset Renewal Alternative developed by PSC staff engineers is described in Direct and Rebuttal Testimony by Alexander Vedvik ( ); Daniel Grant ( ) and Ajinkya Rohankar ( ) As many low voltage transmission lines in Wisconsin are similarly coming up for rebuilding, BWARA charts a new energy direction. Starting on p.4 of SOUL of Wisconsin’s Initial Brief is discussion on this subject
30  PSC staff’s estimated cost of rebuilding the three low voltage transmission lines is estimated at just under $900,000. The Scheduled cost over 40 years is $2.2 Billion with $330 million paid by Wisconsin electric customers. $360,000,000 / $900,000 = 366: 1
31  Testimony of Ajinkya Rohankar ( )
32  See, PSC rejects conflict-of-interest assertions, authorizes $500 million Cardinal-Hickory Creek power line, Chris Hubbuch, Sep 27, 2019,





Iowa County Residents Encouraging County Supervisors to Support CHC Appeal.
Supervisors of Iowa County have received updated information to help them consider holding a special meeting on September 7th to consider joining the effort to reverse the PSC Commis-sioners' recent decision to build the Cardinal Hickory Creek transmission line. Public Intervenors familiar with the proceeding are asking county residents to phone their supervisors and en-courage them to update their understandings call for a special meeting or help in any manner they think is best. Contact Allen and Judy Pincus for more info.




A free and fair world, so we thought,
Transformed by greed, a well-known plot.

The powers that be, from upon high,
Disfigured lives, the land and sky.

Prejudiced by those who stand to gain,
Dictate public good with disdain.

Shamelessly and lacking guilt,
Professed transmission to be built.

Without vision for consequence,
Negligence and incompetence.

Who will stop their reckless reign,
Before our world is lost in vein?

                        - Chris Klopp




Landowners are encouraged to seek additional Information when they are approached by land agents of companies wishing to rent land for installing new towers.  There are increasing indications that new towers are duplicative and the contracts are excessively open ended.  

Contact Juliee for information and schedule of upcoming public meetings.

        Tesuque, New Mexico.

On August 2, 2019, the Verde Transmission Project notified the United States Bureau of Land Management and the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs that the Project would not be moving forward and that the Project was officially requesting to withdraw its application for right-of-way approval from these agencies. This withdrawal will terminate the environmental review process for the project under the National Environmental Policy Act  
The Verde Line was one of several Merchant (Private Investment) high-voltage transmission lines currently under various stages of permitting processes in New Mexico.  Stop Hunt Power Line is  a group of citizens who got together to understand exactly who these developers are, what motivates them, and how they go about permitting and building such structures.  As we dug deeper and deeper into the science, engineering, electrical grid history and design, and regulatory bodies with oversight over these types of projects at the Federal, State and Local levels, we started to understand the bigger picture – There was no need for this line.  Moreover, we found there was very little local regulation at the County or State levels that address these behemoths, their safety, locations, service life or decommissioning.

 - - - - - - - -

Rob Heineman, Chair,
Stop Hunt Power Line


Get your ORANGE on and come celebrate the end of Northern Pass!!  

        In case anybody missed it, on July 19, 2019, the New Hampshire Supreme Court unanimously (7-0) rejected Northern Pass' appeal. NPT then had 10 days to ask the Court to reconsider its decision. But on July 26, NPT threw in the towel for good -- they notified the Securities and Exchange Commission that the project was dead, with a loss of $318 million to the investors (some $200 million after tax adjustments). Investors learned what the individual share loss would be. Soon after that, NPT took down its website, and its social media accounts are frozen on Oct. 18, 2018, the day the NHSC accepted its appeal. In the words of Ray Burton, Eversource has finally "packed up its tent" and moved on. RIP, or as Mike Marland has captioned it in an editorial cartoon, Rust in Peace. 

        No Northern Pass Archive at the Sugar Hill Historical Museum -Don't throw it out - Bring us your Orange! 

       The NNP Archive has slowly but steadily been collecting artifacts associated with the fight against Northern Pass -- bumpers stickers, buttons, banners, hats, tee shirts, signs, art and music work, newspaper clippings, pretty much everything but regulatory documents (no more EIS's, please). We'll display some of it on October 13th. Stop by the NNPA tent and have a look. And please bring anything you'd like to donate, or come and talk to us about it. We'll have someone there to evaluate potential donations to insure that they don't duplicate what we already have and are appropriate for this collection.


How Energy Efficiency Is Helping States Zero Out Emissions  
        In the past year, legislatures in California, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Puerto Rico, and Washington have all passed bills aimed at making their state’s electricity sector carbon free by 2045-2050. More states have pledged to meet similar goals through executive orders and regulatory frameworks, most recently New Jersey, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

        In Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz has pushed for a transition to 100% clean electricity while pointing out that utilities are a key partner in this transition. Xcel Energy, which serves more than 1.2 million electric customers and nearly half a million natural gas customers in Minnesota has... committed to closing the last two coal plants it operates in the state and achieving enough energy efficiency to avoid construction of a new power plant.



       Way back in 2005, Congress directed the Federal Energy Regulatory Com-mission to provide financial incentives to remedy the neglect of the high voltage transmission system that lead to the 2003 Northeast blackout. Since then, transmission rates have increased rapidly due to transmission expansion driven by utility greed. The more they build, they more they make! Recently, FERC opened an inquiry on its transmission incentives policies. Transmission opposition groups from 14 different states joined together to submit initial comments under the auspices of “Consumer Organizations". At the end of August, the same group filed a reply to the comments of other parties. Issues discussed include FERC’s evaluation of transmission projects before awarding incentives, and the need for increased scrutiny before rewarding utilities for undertaking transmission risk that may not benefit consumers. In addition, the Consumer Organizations demonstrated that calls for new incentives to increase “resilience” by requiring consumers to pay extra for routine maintenance were unnecessary. Consumer Organizations highlighted the issue caused by incentives whereby utilities pursue new transmission in order to receive financial rewards, instead of non-transmission alternatives, rebuilds, and dynamic line ratings. We discussed FERC’s “Abandonment” incentive that guarantees a utility may collect its sunk costs of transmission proposals from consumers in the event that a project is cancelled before being built. This incentive shifts financial risk from utilities to consumers, which has caused a huge debt consumers must pay for transmission projects that never put a shovel to the ground. Consumers deserve transparency and accountability for the hundreds of millions of dollars in transmission incentives they pay each year. Utilities pretend to speak for us, however consumers are now speaking up for themselves at the federal level. As it examines its policies to affect beneficial change, FERC would do well to consider the views of electricity consumers who foot the entire bill for the transmission incentives it awards to utilities.  -Keryn Newman


Are You Fully Exploiting the Powers of your Household?

Discover clever, low-cost ways to become a 21st Century Load Defector to save money, slash emissions and live with cleaner conscience. 

 If your household electric bill is greater than 700 kilowatt hours, per month, it's likely you can make significant improvements. Learn more about the energy and emission savings tips and email SOUL for your personalized, online tracking sheet to record your monthly progress. See CONTEST  tor households tracking use frm  May 2017 to May 2018. .


New Petition
Stop Utility Abuse of Property Rights in Wisconsin

Stronger protections are needed for the thousands of miles of electrical power line [transmission] right-of-ways to reclaim owners rights,and to promote environmental well-being and habitat for plants, animals and healthy local economies.   

By signing the petition, you will be asking the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to adopt and enforce guidelines, many of which are federally recommended. See Vegetation Management Plan for details.

Lila M. Zastrow, Certified Arborist, International Society of Arboriculture, & Dave Hendrickson



See map on pdf p. 41 of the PSC's  Strategic Energy Assessment and more information here (pdf p.28) Now is the time to protect your community with adoption of resolutions and informing your elected local and state officials. Contact the Energy Planning and Information Committee of the Town of Stark for more information and assistance.
LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP to support ratepayer energy investment priorities is only $5!  Membership numbers are especially important when SOUL intervenes in utility cases and seeks funding for engineers and other experts.  Consider two or more memberships for your family. Donations above the $5 fee are tax deductible. Join online here or mail a check to SOUL of Wisconsin, PO Box 146, La Farge, WI 54639 

Copyright © 2019 Wisconsin Energy Awareness Initiative, All rights reserved.

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