State law funds Citizens Utility Board to help represent customers, lower utilities

Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 5:34 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A new law signed Thursday by Gov. Tony Evers will provide a stable funding source for the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), which Evers hopes will lead to lower utility bills.

The CUB is the state’s only advocate for residential and small business utility customers, the governor stated, which represents customers in rate case and utility construction proceedings ahead of the Public Service Commission(PSC).

“Giving CUB the means to have a more equal footing in proceedings before the PSC results in greater representation for Wisconsin consumers, and ultimately leads to lower utility bills,” said Gov. Evers.

Before Assembly Bill 27, now Wisconsin Act 24, was signed into law, the CUB relied on funding from a PSC grant. Evers said this funding was subject to approval in Wisconsin’s biennial budget.

“This law will ensure that CUB’s funding will be more stable and sustainable, and will allow CUB to remain focused on its mission of advocating for Wisconsin families and small businesses who don’t have an army of attorneys at their disposal,” said Gov. Evers.

The technical changes that will affect the PSC include allowing the PSC to authorize up to $900,000 a year to the CUB from Wisconsin’s investor-owned utilities. It also corrects an unintended result from a 2017 law that encouraged utility settlements in rate cases that created a timing mismatch from when CUB worked on cases and when it could request funding.

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