More information: Charlie Higley, Executive Director, Citizens Utility Board (608) 251-3322 ext. 14
MADISON – The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) applauds today’s action by the Wisconsin State Senate, which passed legislation that would strengthen efforts to save energy and utilize renewable energy resources. The vote in the Senate was 32 in favor and 1 opposed.
“If enacted into law, this legislation will provide benefits to the Wisconsin economy by reducing energy bills, creating jobs, and reducing environmental impacts from energy use,” said Charlie Higley, CUB executive director. “CUB appreciates the leadership of Senator Rob Cowles, who drafted the legislation and worked with his colleagues to see the bill through the Senate.”
SB 459 reflects many of the recommendations of Governor Jim Doyle’s bipartisan Task Force on Energy Efficiency and Renewables, of which CUB was a member along with Democrats and Republicans from the Senate and the Assembly, utilities, labor unions, environmental groups, and business associations.
SB 459 would strengthen Wisconsin’s statewide energy efficiency program known as Focus on Energy. Over the past several years nearly $100 million has been diverted from Focus on Energy to reduce the state’s budget deficit, even though these funds were collected from utility ratepayers specifically for energy efficiency efforts. These budget raids created an unfair tax on utility customers. SB 459 would protect the funds for Focus on Energy, which means that Wisconsin citizens can receive all the benefits of making our homes and businesses more energy efficient: Each dollar invested in energy efficiency returns nearly 6 dollars to Wisconsin in economic and environmental benefits.
SB 459 would also increase the amount of electricity used in Wisconsin that is derived from renewable energy resources, such as wind, solar, and bioenergy systems. The bill sets a goal of 10 percent renewable electricity by 2015, up from a current amount of about 4 percent. As with energy efficiency, investments in renewable electricity will create jobs in Wisconsin, reduce environmental impacts from energy production, and keep dollars in the Wisconsin economy.
The bill is now scheduled for a hearing on March 1 before the State Assembly’s Committee on Energy and Utilities. CUB urges members of the Assembly to support this bipartisan bill.
The Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin is a member-supported nonprofit organization that advocates for reliable and affordable utility service and that represents the interests of residential, farm, and small business customers of electric, natural gas, and telecommunication utilities before regulatory agencies and the courts.