Corey Singletary, Utility Analyst
Like many a child, Corey dreamed of becoming an astronaut.
When it came time to go to college, he decided to get real and decided he wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon.
Then, while finishing his dual degrees in biology and international studies at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, he discovered public policy and decided he wanted to work as a foreign policy advisor in the United States Senate. (Is there a pattern emerging? Perhaps…)
Then, while pursuing a master’s degree in international public affairs and a graduate certificate in energy analysis and policy at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (phew), he stumbled upon the utility industry. Science? Check. Public policy? Check. Wonky esoteric stuff most people don’t know about but is supremely important? Double check! Toto, we’re home.
From May 2010 through June 2017, Corey worked for the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin as an energy policy advisor and utility rate analyst. During his time with the Commission, his work focused on electric and natural gas utility rate design and cost-of-service, as well as a number of policy issues such as smart grid technology, innovative rate design, rate-based energy efficiency, conservation, demand response programs, and distributed energy resources. In July of 2017 Corey joined the CUB team, where he serves as our in-house Utility Analyst. Corey also moonlights as CUB’s jack-of-all trades IT guy, developer, event coordinator, and Shiba Inu wrangler.
Why are you excited to be a part of CUB?
I like the fight, plain and simple. I enjoy the challenge of working on behalf of Wisconsin utility customers, even (or perhaps especially) when it always seems like an uphill battle. I’ve heard some compare what we do here at CUB to the work of a superhero. We fight for those who otherwise wouldn’t have a voice. We’re always keeping watch and stand ready to fight for the little guy, even if most Wisconsin utility customers aren’t aware we exist. I mean, when you think about it, CUB is like utility Batman. Admittedly, the reality of what we do is more like the slow boring of hard wood than it is beating up bad guys. But, as they say: “Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.”
From a big picture perspective, why is CUB important to the state of Wisconsin?
Utility services are essential services. Imagine trying to live in modern society without access to safe, reliable, and affordable utility service. Access to safe, clean water is recognized by the United Nations and international law as a human right. Electricity is the lifeblood of the devices and services we rely on every day for safety, comfort, and entertainment. Natural gas has become vital in allowing us to cook our food, heat our homes, and increasingly to power our electrical grid. We rely on the fact that flipping a switch or turning a knob means that our lights will go on, our stove or heater will fire up, or that clean water will flow from the tap. Beyond the home, the affordability of utility services can dramatically affect the success of Wisconsin small businesses, and our economy at large.
While many Wisconsinites are aware that the utilities are monopolies, most are completely unaware of how they are regulated. Most don’t understand their bills, let alone how the rates they pay are set, or what influences the investment decisions that the utilities make. Most customers are also likely not aware that Wisconsin leads the Midwest (and not in a good way) in the cost of some utility services, like electricity. For all practical purposes, the utilities have an unlimited war chest they can tap into when trying to sell their rates and proposals to regulators and policy makers. Similarly, big business can afford to hire the best consultants and attorneys to represent their interests. CUB is the only organization that consistently represents the interests of individual citizens and main street businesses. Without CUB, the little guy wouldn’t have a voice at the table, and the utilities and big businesses would run roughshod. Technologies like rooftop solar, battery storage, and electric vehicles are changing the century-old utility industry. This has prompted a nation-wide conversation about the utility of the future. But without CUB, small utility customers would be without a voice in this conversation. Without CUB, the utility of the future would invariably end up looking like the utility of the past, ignoring the changing preferences and needs of ordinary residential and small business utility customers. Without CUB, utilities would continue to think of their customers as simply being “rate-payers,” a spigot from which to collect money, rather than as individuals whose needs and wants should be listened to and taken seriously.