- Clean energy groups say they are on the verge of suing Wisconsin regulators to stop We Energies' from enacting higher fixed charges for customers, Express Milwaukee reports. Solar advocates believe the higher charges will halt solar progress in Wisconsin.
- The Wisconsin Public Service Commission voted last week 2-1 to approve new rates for We Energies, including raising a monthly fee by about 75%, from $9 up to $16, along with a 3% drop in energy rates.
- According to We Energies', solar customers are being subsidized by other ratepayers, and the higher flat fee will ensure all customers pay their fair share of grid costs. The 600 existing solar customers will be grandfathered in to the new rate plan under existing rates, while new solar customers will be charged the new rates.
The fight in Wisconsin had galvanized solar proponents, and they say a defeat before the Public Service Commission has not changed anything. “We Energies got what they wanted and we will sue and win on appeal,” Bryan Miller, co-chair of the Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), said in an interview with Express Milwaukee.
TASC, along with Renew Wisconsin, has been a vocal opponent of what they say is an outright tax on solar energy. Opponents of We Energies' proposal did score one victory: Regulators denied a proposal that would have blocked third-party ownership of grid-connected solar panels.
“Under this decision, customers who use more will see lower bills and customers who use less will see higher bills. It sends the wrong price signals on energy efficiency because it makes it harder for customers to control their monthly bills,” said Robert Kelter, senior attorney with the Environmental Law & Policy Center, said on RENEW's blog.