February 24, 2009: CUB and PSC Develop Energy Efficiency Program

  • February 24, 2009
Leah Steinberg

For Immediate Release: February 24, 2009

Citizens Utility Board and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation to Develop Innovative Energy Efficiency and Conservation Program

Madison and Green Bay, WI – The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPS) have finalized an agreement to develop a program that will help consumers save energy.  The agreement was completed on February 17, 2009.

“CUB and WPS collaborated on the issues to develop a program that will provide substantial benefits to customers and the environment by aggressively pursuing energy efficiency and conservation,” said Charlie Higley, CUB executive director.

CUB and WPS are now working with Focus on Energy, which provides energy efficiency and renewable energy services to residents and businesses in Wisconsin, to design the details of the program, with implementation scheduled for later this year.

The principle components of the program include the following:

  • WPS will increase its annual contribution to Focus on Energy in each of the next four years, 2009 through 2012.  With more funds, Focus on Energy will be able to provide additional energy efficiency and renewable energy services to customers of WPS;
  • CUB, WPS, and Focus on Energy will develop energy-saving programs for three communities in the utility’s service territory.  The programs will feature innovative rate options, enhanced energy efficiency options, and other ways for customers to reduce their energy use;
  • WPS reduced electric and gas rates for residential and commercial customers by $2.1 million (these changes took effect in January 2009);
  • WPS reduced the “fixed charge” and increased the “volumetric charge,” which are the two major components of electric and natural gas rates.  These changes help low-income and other customers who already use a minimum amount of energy, and can encourage other customers to use less energy (these changes took effect in January 2009);
  • WPS will use a “revenue stabilization mechanism,” also known as “decoupling,” which will assure WPS of a certain level of revenue for its electric and natural gas service regardless of weather and other conditions.  WPS’s revenue level will be trued up annually.  If WPS’s revenues are higher than expected, customers will receive refunds.  If WPS’s revenues are lower than expected, WPS will recover the difference over the next year.

    The above items are part of a four-year pilot, as approved by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin on December 18, 2008 and February 13, 2009.

    “This package contains a number of initiatives that encourage energy conservation in a number of new and innovative ways,” said Jim Schott, WPS vice president of regulatory affairs.  “The revenue stabilization mechanism ensures that WPS will be a strong and enthusiastic supporter of these energy conservation programs without worrying about how it will affect the bottom line.”

    In addition, CUB and WPS will support the recommendations from Governor Jim Doyle’s Task Force on Global Warming regarding enhanced conservation and energy efficiency efforts; new or improved building codes; and new or improved standards for appliances.

    About CUB
    The Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin is a member-supported nonprofit organization that advocates for reliable and affordable utility service. CUB represents the interests of residential, farm, and small business customers of electric, natural gas, and telecommunication utilities before the Legislature, regulatory agencies, and the courts.  For more information, visit www.wiscub.org.

    About Focus on Energy
    Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Focus information, resources and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not be completed, or to complete projects sooner than scheduled. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect our environment and control the state’s growing demand for electricity and natural gas. For more information call (800) 762-7077 or visit focusonenergy.com.

    About Wisconsin Public Service Corporation
    Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE: TEG), is an electric and natural gas utility headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It serves approximately 433,000 electric customers and 314,000 retail natural gas customers in residential, agricultural, industrial, and commercial markets. The company’s service area includes northeastern and central Wisconsin, and an adjacent portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Additional information is available online at: www.wisconsinpublicservice.com.