(Madison) –  In testimony submitted to the Public Service
Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) on Wednesday, RENEW Wisconsin objected to We
Energies’ proposal to weaken its net-metering service to new customers seeking
to generate electricity on-site using solar panels and other renewable energy

In its current rate proceeding, We Energies proposes not
to pay a new customer-generator for any electricity produced in excess of the
amount consumed on site.

“We Energies’ proposal is a radical
departure from its current practice paying the full retail rate for energy
that’s fed back to the utility’s system,” said Michael Vickerman, director of
programs and policy for RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide renewable energy advocacy

“This proposal is the most
extreme example yet of We Energies’ ongoing retreat from customer-sited
renewables, and we urge the PSCW to reject it.

Net metering allows customers to sell
the unused output from their solar electric or other renewable energy systems
back to the utility at the full retail rate each month, so long as the total
amount of electricity produced is less than or equal to the customers’

“Utilities routinely pay for all the energy supplied by non-utility generators to its

“By refusing to purchase the
small amounts of electricity they may export to the utility, We Energies is abusing
its monopoly power in a way that discriminates against its own customers.”
Vickerman said.

its proposal, We Energies would limit its net metering service to systems no
larger than 20 kilowatts. In contrast, Madison Gas & Electric, Xcel Energy,
and Wisconsin Public Service provide net metering to systems as large as 100

“When you take into account what other in-state
utilities are offering, it seems obvious that We Energies is asking for special
treatment from the PSC.

Yet, it has
provided nothing in its rate case to demonstrate that a higher net metering ceiling
would cause it any more harm than to the other utilities,” said Vickerman.

pointed to Michigan as a better model for setting net-metering service

to legislation passed in 2008, We Energies’ Michigan customers enjoy a much
higher standard of service than what the utility proposes for its Wisconsin
customers,” Vickerman said.

“Along with
all other investor-owned utilities in Michigan, We Energies must provide full
retail credit for all electricity produced by renewable energy systems up to 20
kW and must provide a reasonable net metering rate for systems up to 150 kW.”

the most recent Freeing the Grid: Best Practices in State Metering Policies report
prepared for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Michigan rated an “A”
for its net-metering policies. By comparison, Wisconsin earned a “C.” The report can be viewed here.

Earlier this month, RENEW issued
a report card
grading individual utility performance
on renewable energy, in which We Energies received a “C” for its 2011 performance.


RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit
501(c)(3) organization that leads and represents businesses, organizations, and
individuals who seek more clean renewable energy in Wisconsin.More information on RENEW’s Web site at