Contact A.G. Barr daily!

March 28th, 2019

Look, he’s flashing signs too…

Every day until it’s released, take 2 minutes and send A.G. Barr a simple missive:


Call the Department Comment Line: 202-353-1555 or use their Contact Form:

While you’re at it, send a missive here too, every day:

In today’s Federal Register:

Inquiry Regarding the Commission’s Electric Transmission Incentives Policy

Initial Comments are due June 25, 2019, and Reply Comments are due July 25, 2019.

So what’s this about? My guess, big picture, is that they’re rethinking the wisdom of subsidies of transmission, these incentives that have, well, incentives, to build transmission that isn’t needed. We’ve got enough! The claimed purpose of “incentives” was to benefit consumers by “reducing cost of delivered power by reducing transmission congestion” and “promoting capital investment” and “providing an ROE that attracts investment…” FR 11762. Well, they sure did that! Utilities and transmission owners can make a lot more ROE by investing in, building transmission, than they can selling electricity, and that’s not considering providing transmission service, that’s separate.

FERC does ask some specific questions, my favorite section is about “risks and challenges.” FERC can provide a guarantee of ROI if the project doesn’t go forward, as they’ve done for Cardinal-Hickory Creek (is this anything more than a financing leg-up?). For example:

Where’d that Dairyland one go?

FERC is also asking questions about benefits, but in this case, they don’t ask the question most important — who gets the benefits? The “benefits” claimed in MISO’s MVP 17 project portfolio, of which the CapX 2020 Hampton-La Crosse line was one, Badger Coulee was another, and right now, the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission project is one to take a close look at. First, from MTEP 2012:

And where are we today, or more currently? Let’s look at the MTEP17 MVP Triennial Review:

The categories are absurd… BENEFITS?

And in the Badger Coulee proceeding at Wisconsin’s PSC, the Applicant’s Henn admits that the benefits accrue to the utilities, and any benefits to Wisconsin ratepayers are not distinct or identifiable — shame MISO’s Schedule 26A and MM of the MISO tariff didn’t get in that record:

I mean, the savings of the project are to our interconnected utilities. How they pass those savings on to the ratepayers is, you know, within their tariff and pay structures and things of that nature. So, you know, I personally can’t speak to, you know, to a direct savings of any magnitude to the ratepayers of Wisconsin or, in fact, the ratepayers throughout the MISO footprint. to a direct savings of any magnitude to the ratepayers of Wisconsin or, in fact, the ratepayers throughout the MISO footprint.

Henn. Tr. Vol. 8, p. 9, l. 13-20. DOH!

It’s about time FERC took a look at this.

Remember, Initial Comments are due June 25, 2019, and Reply Comments due July 25, 2019.

Comments are due Sunday, April 14, 2019 (11:59!):

Here’s the DEIS in full:

Note the “need” section beginning on p. 49. It’s dependent on MISO — yes, that MISO, the one that blessed the so dramatically overstated “need” for the CapX 2020 build-out… the MISO that claims “need” when its LMP Coutour map is nearly always a bright or dark blue! The MISO that is all about “market” which has nothing to do with “need.” This section takes it back to “Upper Midwest Transmission Development Initiative” (hard to tell their mission, eh? But we know it was all about coal). If they’re going to go back to the history of this big transmission build-out, methinks that, particularly in Wisconsin, they should go back to the Wisconsin Reliability Assessment Organization (WRAO) Report that laid out the wish list of the transmission build-out.

Now, head to p. 80, Section 3.9, entitled “Applicants’ Alternatives to the Proposed Project.” This section presents ONLY the APPLICANTS’ alternatives, they get to determine what is or is not an alternatives, the parameters. Show me where it says in the WI statutes or rules that it only the APPLICANTS’ choice of alternatives to be considered?

Folks, we’ve got a lot of work to do…

This just came over the wire — and I so look forward to this presentation. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, and I sure hope every city-connected person attends!

On Thursday, April 18th, beginning at 6 pm at the Sheldon Theatre, Professor David Schultz will come to present on three topics including:

  • The role of staff versus the role of the elected official/volunteer
  • The open meeting law
  • Conflict of interest as it relates to state law

Professor Schultz is a renowned educator and is considered an expert in these areas.  He is a Politicial Science professor at Hamline University and a law professor through the University of Minnesota Law School.  Links to his biographies from his respective universities are listed below.

Schultz’ Bio:

This training is a result of feedback we have heard from commission members who want to know more about these topics, and attendance is strongly encouraged.  This is an excellent opportunity to get your questions answered and increase your understanding and effectiveness as a commission member; we hope to see you there.

WI PSC gets interesting

March 23rd, 2019

Thursday afternoon, the Friday PSC meeting was abruptly cancelled. Why? Well…

Thursday, there was an important court decision in Dane County, where the judge blasted the “lame duck session” where the R’s did everything they could to limit powers of the new Evers administration.

Following judge’s ruling, Tony Evers rescinds 82 Scott Walker appointees during lame duck session.

And one of those appointees was PSC Commissioner Ellen Nowak!

A little birdie told me that decisions made while she was a Commissioner may be at issue too!

She’d been on since 2011, and snuck in again during the lame duck session. From the PSC’s site:

Ellen Nowak was first appointed to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission in July 2011 by Governor Scott Walker. She was reconfirmed for a new, six-year term beginning on March 1, 2013. Commissioner Nowak was named Chairperson of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in March of 2015. In March of 2018 Governor Walker appointed her as Secretary of the Department of Administration. She served in that role until the end of the Governor’s term and was then reappointed as chairperson on the PSC in January 2019.

BYE! Don’t let the screen door hit you!