If the commission determines that a public utility affiliate or the transmission company is not making investments in the facilities under its control that are sufficient to ensure reliable electric service, the commission shall order the public utility affiliate or transmission company to make adequate investments in its facilities that are sufficient to ensure reliable electric service. An order under this subsection shall require the public utility affiliate or transmission company to provide security in an amount and form that, to the satisfaction of the commission, is sufficient to ensure that the public utility affiliate or transmission company expeditiously makes any investment that is ordered.
The commission shall allow a public utility affiliate that is subject to an order under sub. (2)
to recover in its retail electric rates the costs that are prudently incurred in complying with the order.
History: 1999 a. 9
Authorization from commission before transacting business; extensions and improvements to be approved; enforcement of orders; natural gas. 196.49(1)(am)
Except as provided in s. 196.50 (1) (am)
, no public utility not legally engaged in performing a utility service on August 1, 1931, in any municipality may commence the construction of any public utility plant, extension or facility, or render service in such municipality directly, or indirectly by serving any other public utility or agency engaged in public utility service or otherwise, unless the public utility has obtained a certificate from the commission authorizing it to transact public utility business.
This subsection applies only to a public utility which was not legally engaged in performing a public utility service on August 1, 1931, in a municipality and which proposes to commence construction or render service in the municipality. If there is a public utility engaged in similar service in operation under an indeterminate permit in the municipality, ss. 196.495
No public utility may begin the construction, installation or operation of any new plant, equipment, property or facility, nor the construction or installation of any extension, improvement or addition to its existing plant, equipment, property, apparatus or facilities unless the public utility has complied with any applicable rule or order of the commission. If a cooperative association has been incorporated under ch. 185
for the production, transmission, delivery or furnishing of light or power and has filed with the commission a map of the territory to be served by the association and a statement showing that a majority of the prospective consumers in the area are included in the project, no public utility may begin any such construction, installation or operation within the territory until after the expiration of 6 months from the date of filing the map and notice. If the cooperative association has entered into a loan agreement with any federal agency for the financing of its proposed system and has given written notice of the agreement to the commission, no public utility may begin any construction, installation or operation within the territory until 12 months after the date of the loan agreement.
In this subsection, “project" means construction of any new plant, equipment, property or facility, or extension, improvement or addition to its existing plant, equipment, property, apparatus or facilities. The commission may require by rule or special order that a public utility submit, periodically or at such times as the commission specifies and in such detail as the commission requires, plans, specifications and estimated costs of any proposed project which the commission finds will materially affect the public interest.
The commission may require by rule or special order under par. (a)
that no project may proceed until the commission has certified that public convenience and necessity require the project. The commission may refuse to certify a project if it appears that the completion of the project will do any of the following:
Substantially impair the efficiency of the service of the public utility.
Provide facilities unreasonably in excess of the probable future requirements.
When placed in operation, add to the cost of service without proportionately increasing the value or available quantity of service unless the public utility waives consideration by the commission, in the fixation of rates, of such consequent increase of cost of service.
The commission may issue a certificate for the project or for any part of the project which complies with the requirements of this section, or the commission may attach to the issuance of its certificate such terms and conditions as will ensure that the project meets the requirements of this section. The issuance of a certificate under this section shall not be a condition precedent to the exercise of eminent domain under ch. 32
The commission may not issue a certificate under sub. (1)
, or (3)
for the construction of electric generating equipment and associated facilities unless the commission determines that brownfields, as defined in s. 238.13 (1) (a)
or s. 560.13 (1) (a)
, 2009 stats., are used to the extent practicable.
No public utility furnishing gas to the public in this state may construct, install or place in operation any new plant, equipment, property or facility, or construct or install any extension, improvement, addition or alteration to its existing plant, equipment, property or facilities for the purpose of connecting its properties and system to a source of supply of gaseous fuel for sale to the public which is different from that which has been sold previously, or for the purpose of adapting its facilities to use the different kind of gaseous fuel unless the commission certifies that the general public interest and public convenience and necessity require the connection to or use of the different fuel. No public utility may substitute natural gas or a mixture of natural and manufactured gas in lieu of manufactured gas for distribution and sale to the public unless it has obtained from the commission a certificate that the general public interest and public convenience and necessity require the substitution.
Proceedings for a certificate under par. (a)
shall be commenced by petition to the commission in a form prescribed by the commission, furnishing such information as the commission by rule or order prescribes. The commission shall prescribe the form of notice, to whom the notice shall be given, and how notice shall be given.
A petition under par. (b)
may include one or more municipalities, may be made by one or more public utilities as a joint petition, by any other interested person or by a public utility and any other interested person. The commission may direct the consolidation, separation or consideration of separate petitions as it deems necessary or expedient to a prompt hearing and disposition of the issue.
Upon the filing of a petition under par. (b)
, notice of hearing on the petition shall be given by the person filing the petition by publication of a class 2 notice, under ch. 985
, or by mailing or personal service, as the commission directs by the order under par. (b)
. Notice under this paragraph shall be given at least 2 weeks prior to hearing on the petition. Proof of notice shall be filed as directed by the commission.
The commission, with or without an order, prior to or during any hearing under this subsection, may frame and prescribe special issues and limit the issues or the nature and extent of proof so as to avoid unnecessary duplication. The commission, with or without an order, may proceed with the hearing as to part of a petition under par. (b)
as it may find desirable to a full but speedy hearing upon the petition.
The commission may accept as presumptive evidence in a commission proceeding the facts found in findings and orders of the federal energy regulatory commission or any federal agency having jurisdiction as to the availability of adequate supplies of natural gas, the adequacy or sufficiency of equipment and facilities to be employed in the delivery or storage of natural gas for any public utility, and any similar findings or determinations affecting the seller or person furnishing natural gas to any public utility and material to the ultimate determination of the issues in the proceeding. The commission may accept and take judicial notice of its own files and records, including all proceedings and the evidence therein which it finds to be material and relevant. The commission shall give notice of the taking of judicial notice under this paragraph prior to the conclusion of final hearings upon any proceeding so as to give interested parties the right to object to acceptance of the evidence or to contradict the evidence by other competent evidence.
A certificate granted under par. (a)
shall be authorized by an order following a hearing. The order shall contain any condition or limitation which the commission deems necessary or practicable, including, but not limited to, exceptions or regulations as to specific communities or public utilities, provision for protection of employees under existing labor contracts, as well as other employees, so as to avoid unemployment, regulations for accounting for expenses for change-over to the use of natural gas where necessary and to the extent necessary, provision for amortization of any expenditure or other items, and any other regulation, condition and limitation which the commission considers necessary in the public interest.
The commission by order may extend a certificate under par. (a)
to more than one public utility or municipality. The commission may prescribe different conditions and regulations for each public utility or municipality if the commission deems the different conditions and regulations necessary to carry out the purposes of this section.
In making a determination under this section, the commission shall consider all appropriate factors affecting the public interest, including, but not limited to, when the substitution of natural or a mixture of natural and manufactured gas is involved, the likelihood of substantial rate reduction from the substitution and the effect of the substitution upon employment, existing business and industries, railroads and other transportation agencies and facilities, upon conveniences, economies and savings to consumers, upon existing gas utilities and their ability to continue to serve the public and upon the state, any of its political subdivisions or any citizen or resident of the state.
In this subsection, “rebuild" means the replacement of all or part of an existing electric transmission line and associated facilities, including conductors, insulators, transformers, or structures, for operation at the same voltage.
A public utility is exempt from the requirement to obtain a certification or approval of the commission under sub. (2)
before beginning a proposed project if any of the following applies:
The estimated gross cost of the proposed project is not more than one of the following cost thresholds:
For an electric public utility whose electric operating revenues in the prior year were less than $5,000,000, the cost threshold is $250,000.
For an electric public utility whose electric operating revenues in the prior year were $5,000,000 or more and less than $250,000,000, the cost threshold is 4 percent of those operating revenues.
For an electric public utility whose electric operating revenues in the prior year were $250,000,000 or more, the cost threshold is $10,000,000.
For a natural gas public utility, the cost threshold is $5,000,000 or 4 percent of the public utility's natural gas operating revenues in the prior year, whichever is less.
For a water public utility or combined water and sewer public utility, the cost threshold is $250,000 or 25 percent of the utility's operating revenues in the prior year, whichever is less.
The existing electric transmission line and associated facilities are designed for operation at a nominal voltage of less than 345 kilovolts.
Not more than one-half mile of the centerline of the rebuilt electric transmission line is located more than 60 feet on either side of the centerline of an existing electric transmission line operating at a nominal voltage of 69 kilovolts or more. In this subd. 2m. b.
, “centerline" has the meaning given in s. 196.491 (4) (c) 1e.
The project requires the acquisition in total of one-half mile or less of rights-of-way from landowners from which rights-of-way would not be required to be acquired for the existing electric transmission line specified in subd. 2m. b.
The project will not have undue adverse environmental impacts on any new rights-of-way required for the rebuild.
The project is primarily to provide service to a new customer within an electronics and information technology manufacturing zone designated under s. 238.396 (1m)
Beginning on May 1, 2014, and on May 1 of each successive even-numbered year thereafter, the commission shall adjust the cost thresholds specified in par. (ar) 1m.
to reflect changes to the cost of utility construction based on the applicable industry cost index numbers published in the Handy-Whitman Index of Public Utility Construction Costs, or an equivalent successor index, and publicize the adjusted cost thresholds on the commission's website.
If a hearing is held on an application filed under sub. (1)
, or (5)
, the commission shall take final action on the application within 180 days after the commission issues a notice of hearing on the application. The chairperson of the commission may extend the time period for an additional 180 days for good cause. If the commission fails to take final action within the initial 180-day period, or the extended 180-day time period, the commission is considered to have issued a certificate of authority with respect to the application.
If a hearing is not held on an application filed under sub. (1)
, or (5)
, the commission shall take final action on the application within 90 days after the commission issues a notice opening a docket on the application. The chairperson of the commission may extend the time period for an additional 90 days for good cause. If the commission fails to take final action within the initial 90-day period, or the extended 90-day time period, the commission is considered to have issued a certificate of authority with respect to the application.
If the commission finds that any public utility has taken or is about to take an action which violates or disregards a rule or special order under this section, the commission, in its own name either before or after investigation or public hearing and either before or after issuing any additional orders or directions it deems proper, may bring an action in the circuit court of Dane County to enjoin the action. If necessary to preserve the existing state of affairs, the court may issue a temporary injunction pending a hearing upon the merits. An appeal from an order or judgment of the circuit court may be taken to the court of appeals.
See also chs. PSC 112
, and 133
, Wis. adm. code.
There is no hearing requirement for the issuance of a certificate authorizing service. Adams-Marquette Electric Cooperative v. PSC. 51 Wis. 2d 718
, 188 N.W.2d 515
The “public" in sub. (3) (b) includes all electric consumers in the state, not only the ratepayers of the utility seeking authorization. Wisconsin Power & Light Co. v. PSC, 148 Wis. 2d 881
, 437 N.W.2d 888
(Ct. App. 1989).
Sub. (3) controls a utility's application to construct an out-of-state electric generating facility. Section 196.491 (3) applies exclusively to in-state facilities. Under s. 196.01 (5) (a) and sub. (1) (am), every public utility has availed itself of the state's regulatory jurisdiction by obtaining authorization to engage in public utility business. Therefore, when the Public Service Commission reviews an application under sub. (3) it is a statutory entity that is being regulated, not a person's activity of constructing a facility, as is the case under s. 196.491 (3). Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group v. Public Service Commission, 2012 WI 89
, 342 Wis. 2d 576
, 819 N.W.2d 240
Strategic energy assessment; electric generating facilities and transmission lines; natural gas lines. 196.491(1)(b)
“Commencement of construction" means site clearing, excavation, placement of facilities or any other substantial action adversely affecting the natural environment of the site, but does not mean borings necessary to determine foundation conditions or other preconstruction monitoring to establish background information related to site or environmental suitability.
“Cooperative association" means a cooperative association organized under ch. 185
for the purpose of generating, distributing or furnishing electric energy at retail or wholesale to its members only.
“Department" means the department of natural resources.
“Electric utility" means any public utility, as defined in s. 196.01
, which is involved in the generation, distribution and sale of electric energy, and any corporation, company, individual or association, and any cooperative association, which owns or operates, or plans within the next 3 years to construct, own or operate, facilities in the state.
“Facility" means a large electric generating facility or a high-voltage transmission line.
Except as provided in subs. (2) (b) 8.
and (3) (d) 3m.
, “high-voltage transmission line" means a conductor of electric energy exceeding one mile in length designed for operation at a nominal voltage of 100 kilovolts or more, together with associated facilities, and does not include transmission line relocations that are within an electronics and information technology manufacturing zone designated under s. 238.396 (1m)
or that the commission determines are necessary to facilitate highway or airport projects.
“Large electric generating facility" means electric generating equipment and associated facilities designed for nominal operation at a capacity of 100 megawatts or more.
“Wholesale merchant plant" means, except as provided in subd. 2.
, electric generating equipment and associated facilities located in this state that do not provide service to any retail customer and that are owned and operated by any of the following:
Subject to the approval of the commission under sub. (3m) (a)
, an affiliated interest of a public utility.
“Wholesale merchant plant" does not include an electric generating facility or an improvement to an electric generating facility that is subject to a leased generation contract, as defined in s. 196.52 (9) (a) 3.
The commission shall prepare a biennial strategic energy assessment that evaluates the adequacy and reliability of the state's current and future electrical supply. The strategic energy assessment shall do all of the following:
Identify and describe large electric generating facilities on which an electric utility plans to commence construction within 3 years.
Assess the adequacy and reliability of purchased generation capacity and energy to serve the needs of the public.
Identify and describe high-voltage transmission lines on which an electric utility plans to commence construction within 3 years.
Identify and describe any plans for assuring that there is an adequate ability to transfer electric power into the state and the transmission area, as defined in s. 196.485 (1) (g)
, in a reliable manner.
Identify and describe the projected demand for electric energy and the basis for determining the projected demand.
Identify and describe activities to discourage inefficient and excessive power use.
Identify and describe existing and planned generating facilities that use renewable sources of energy.
Consider the public interest in economic development, public health and safety, protection of the environment and diversification of sources of energy supplies.
Assess the extent to which the regional bulk-power market is contributing to the adequacy and reliability of the state's electrical supply.
Assess the extent to which effective competition is contributing to a reliable, low-cost and environmentally sound source of electricity for the public.
Assess whether sufficient electric capacity and energy will be available to the public at a reasonable price.
The commission shall promulgate rules that establish procedures and requirements for reporting information that is necessary for the commission to prepare strategic energy assessments under par. (a)
On or before July 1, 2000, and on or before July 1 of each even-numbered year thereafter, the commission shall issue a draft of the biennial strategic energy assessment that it prepares under par. (a)
to each of the following:
The director or chairperson of each regional planning commission constituted under s. 66.0309
which has jurisdiction over any area where a facility is proposed to be located or which requests a copy of such plan.
The lower Wisconsin state riverway board if the draft includes an assessment of the construction, modification or relocation of a high-voltage transmission line, as defined in s. 30.40 (3r)
, that is located in the lower Wisconsin riverway as defined in s. 30.40 (15)