Wisconsin’s Energy Efficiency Programs Under Fire

Bill would cut funding for Wisconsin energy efficiency program

Midwest Energy News, March 4, 2016. Image credit: Hans

Wisconsin’s ratepayer-supported energy efficiency program could see a reduction in funding under a pending proposal in the state legislature.

The bill, AB804, would cut about $7 million a year from the state’s Focus on Energy program. It was passed by the State Assembly  February 18, and is now before the State Senate (SB654).

The plan would recalculate the way funds are collected from ratepayers for the efficiency program. Currently customers are charged 1.2 percent of utilities’ annual operating revenues for the efficiency program, but the bill would change that to 1.2 percent of utilities’ retail sales.

The change would lower the cost customers pay directly, but proponents of the efficiency program say customers would lose out in the big picture with the efficiency program’s benefits reduced. They point to an independent 2015 study showing more than $3 in direct savings and more than $6 in net economic benefits for each dollar invested in the Focus on Energy program between 2011 and 2014. The program’s total annual budget is about $100 million.

Read More