MILWAUKEE, Wis., October 25, 2001 — Wisconsin Energy Corp. Thursday praised a measure that encourages communities to accept the construction of new electrical generation plants.
The company recently received permission from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, in the form of a limited Declaratory Ruling, to complete and file the required regulatory applications to build new electric generation in the state, including new coal- and gas-based power plants.
The Assembly measure (AB584), passed unanimously Thursday by the Assembly Energy and Utilities Committee, would help communities that host the plants by more than doubling payments to communities, towns and counties that accept new plants built within their borders.
The measure was supported by more than two dozen groups, including the Wisconsin Alliance of Cities and the Wisconsin League of Municipalities. “This is a forward-looking measure that helps boost communities and secure the state’s energy future without burdening taxpayers,” said Mike John, spokesman for Wisconsin Energy. “The measure is also a credit to the bill’s sponsors who helped craft and improve the measure.”
AB584, sponsored by Rep. Tim Hoven, R-Port Washington, and Sen. Rod Moen, D-Whitehall, moves the state taxes on electrical power sales and puts them into a separate fund. As new power plants are built and electrical sales expand, the fund will grow and provide more money for the program.
“A lot of people don’t realize how important this bill is,” said Rep. Dan Schooff, D-Beloit, a member of the Energy and Utilities Committee. “Shared revenues to communities are essentially frozen in this budget; communities have no incentives to site new power plants. We needed to take a step forward. This takes two steps forward.”
According to sponsors of the measure, last year the state paid Wisconsin cities, towns and counties $26.2 million out of the state’s “shared revenue” program to help compensate them for the costs associated with hosting electric power plants.
The “shared revenue” money comes from a complex formula that includes a tax on electricity sales (a “gross revenues tax”) and a state “valuation tax” on the value of power plants. These two areas generated $137.9 million for the state last year, only a fifth of which was returned to the communities that host generation plants.
Some communities that now have power plants within their borders will not only continue to receive their traditional utility aid payments, but may receive larger payments as a result of Rep. Hoven and Moen’s proposal.
“Rep. Hoven and Sen. Moen should be congratulated on their leadership in this important area,” John said. “We believe it’s very important that communities willing to host new power development be adequately compensated for the impact the development will have on a community and its services.”
Wisconsin Energy Corporation (NYSE: WEC) is a Milwaukee-based holding company with subsidiaries in utility and non-utility businesses. The company serves more than one million electric customers in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and 960,000 natural gas customers in Wisconsin through its utility subsidiaries – Wisconsin Electric, Wisconsin Gas and Edison Sault Electric.
Its non-utility subsidiaries include energy development, pump manufacturing, waste-to-energy and real estate businesses. Visit the company’s Web site at www.WisconsinEnergy.com.