By Nick Hylla
It is hard to argue against the merits of energy efficiency for your home or business. The old adage “A penny saved is a penny earned” applies fully in this regard.
Beyond the immediate positive influence on our budgets, efficiency measures have social and environmental benefits since the less electricity we waste, the less we have to produce from increasingly expensive fossil fuel resources. Wise energy use increases the affordability of both current and future electric rates. And, as we begin to understand the costs of pushing the frontiers of fossil fuel extraction, it seems obvious that we should be using our resources wisely.
If this argument seems logical to you, then you will be as frustrated as I am at the current proposals that three investor-owned electric utilities have pending before the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (WPSC). Madison Gas & Electric, Wisconsin Public Service, and WE Energies (all regulated utilities) are advancing separate, but similar, proposals that would dramatically increase the fixed cost that each of us pay to have an electric meter, while at the same time, slightly reducing the per unit costs of the energy we use.
In addition, these and other pending utility proposals contain measures that add on extra fees for customers with renewable energy systems, restrict the leasing of solar electric systems, and pay less for customer production over consumption on a monthly basis.
If this is the first you’ve heard about this, it will be worth your time to research further. If you need convincing, here are five reasons why the proposals are a bad deal for Wisconsin electric users: