On their last session day, the Senate concurred in Assembly Bill 804, otherwise known as the Public Service Commission (PSC) Reform Bill. The bill now heads to Governor Scott Walker for his signature. The Assembly passed the legislation in February. Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin) and Sen. Roger Roth (R-Appleton) introduced Assembly Bill 804 and Senate Bill 654, however the Public Service Commission (PSC), developed the legislation through many discussions with PSC staff and stakeholders.
The legislation is a comprehensive reform package that does the following:
- Eliminating an antiquated statute surrounding Commission authority to investigate railroad telecommunications systems.
- Removing obsolete jurisdiction over complaints about LATA boundaries.
- Allowing the PSC the authority to more appropriately bill staff time to the utilities causing the expenditure to ensure fairness.
- Repealing the annual SO2 Compliance Report which no longer has a useful purpose because of other enforceable state and federal conditions and regulations.
- Allowing the PSC Chair to extend, for good reason, an affiliated interest agreement consistent with other application timelines and extensions.
- Eliminating a Focus on Energy “double-tax” by clarifying that the investor-owned utilities’ portion of the program is based on retail revenue contributions.
- Saving ratepayers unnecessary relocation or permitting costs for existing utility structures.
- Allowing flexibility to give the DNR time to consider permits related to high-voltage transmission lines.
On the floor, the Assembly adopted several amendments and rejected other amendments. The two amendments adopted on the floor were Assembly Amendments 2 and 5. Amendment 2 streamlined the process to rebuild transmission lines within existing rights of way. Assembly Amendment 5 removed creation of new enforcement measures related to the Digger’s Hotline.