WMC: Urges Assembly to Approve SB

R.J. Pirlot, (608) 258-3400

Bi-Partisan Leadership Credited for Helping Industry

MADISON – Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Tuesday urged Assembly concurrence in a plan to increase the amount of renewable-resource energy used in the state and prohibit future raids on the state’s Public Benefits Fund.

WMC supports the plan – SB 459 – because it ensures industrial energy consumers will be protected from unreasonable rate increases. The bill will be considered in the Assembly today. The bill passed the Senate last month on a bi-partisan vote.

“This is a great plan because it protects manufacturers from potential rate increases as we ease Wisconsin into using more renewable energy,” said R.J. Pirlot, WMC director of legislative relations and top energy lobbyist. “And, the bill establishes greater certainty for businesses and protects the Public Benefits Fund from raids for increased government spending.”

The Public Benefits Fund is used for energy conservation and to provide aid to poor people to pay utility bills. The fund is supported through ratepayers. Since 2003, over $100 million has been diverted from the fund for increased government spending. “That’s just wrong,” Pirlot said, “and this bill puts an end to it once and for all.”

Pirlot credited Governor Doyle and the chairs of the utility committees in both houses for providing the leadership to ensure passage of the bill. Governor Doyle’s office worked with Senator Rob Cowles and Representative Phil Montgomery, both Green Bay Republicans, who led the drive to develop the legislation.

“Senator Cowles and Representative Montgomery and Governor Doyle demonstrated tremendous vision to develop these needed reforms and to build bi-partisan support for the plan,” Pirlot said.
The bill requires that 10 percent of Wisconsin’s energy come from renewable resources by 2015.