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“The PSC is heading in the wrong direction – residential consumers need greater protection.”
Madison-State Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) today voted against confirmation of the re-appointment of Ellen Nowak to the Public Service Commission. The PSC oversees Wisconsin’s utilities, including Milwaukee area We Energies. The term of a commissioner is six years.
“I have been disappointed in Commissioner Nowak’s recent votes at the PSC, and I believe she has helped take the PSC in the wrong direction. Her decisions point to less than enthusiast priority for protecting residential customer ratepayers,” said Carpenter.
“Regardless the fact that We Energies is doing very well as a business – it reported a 20% increase in third quarter net income ($156.1 million) and pays its CEO $11.3 million per year – Commissioner Nowak voted to increase We Energy customer rates by $120 million dollars. This will be a 5.5% increase for residential customers,” said Carpenter. The other commissioner appointed by Governor Walker also voted to pass rate increase.
“Further, this rate hike is structured so that those who use the least amount of energy will pay a greater percentage. It is also structured so that big energy users get breaks at residential customers’ expense. I believe this is a counterproductive policy and sends the wrong message to everyone trying to save on energy bills,” said Carpenter.
“After news of the PSC’s 2-1 decision to sock it to the ratepayers, We Energies announced it was increasing its dividend 13%, and setting the stage for further dividend increases,” said Carpenter.
“Seniors on fixed incomes and middle class families cannot afford a 5.5% increase in utility bills to make a profitable monopoly even more profitable. Making residential customers bear more of a burden is a policy I cannot support,” said Carpenter.
“This weekend at a Town Hall meeting I had to try to explain to my constituents that legislators couldn’t overturn the decisions of the PSC. Until the PSC can be reformed the way that I can get the message that the PSC is on the wrong track is to vote against confirmation of a PSC Commissioner. Standing up for my constituents, that is what I did here today,” said Carpenter.