The electricity mix in this country is changing: we’re using less coal, more natural gas and more renewable energy, and we’re learning how to use this electricity more efficiently. These changes bring about opportunities and challenges, many of which have required policy makers to reevaluate the rules of the road.

The increased use of rooftop solar and other distributed generation systems by homeowners and businesses is one such development. Solar power has lessened our dependence on overseas energy, improved air quality and boosted U.S. manufacturing. Falling prices for solar panels and leasing programs have allowed more consumers to utilize solar panels to generate part of their electricity needs.

As adoption of distributed generation grows, many states are examining how this growth affects the grid and the resources needed to support this critical infrastructure.

For many months, Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), its corporate membership and its individual supporters have been engaging on these questions. Throughout the process, CEA has maintained that the rules and regulations which govern distributed generation systems must be approached in a balanced, sensible manner that:

  1. Ensures that there is continued growth for solar energy and other distributed energy sources.
  2. Provides adequate maintenance for the electricity grid.
  3. Maintains reasonable prices for all consumers.

Recently, CEA learned that the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) was reviewing rules relating to distributed generation. Understanding the value of consumer input and the need to ensure that this process prioritized consumer interest, CEA engaged its membership and other consumers in Wisconsin to call upon the PSC to promote policies that protect consumers. In early October, CEA submitted a petition to the PSC urging the Commission to remain fair to Wisconsin consumers as it reviewed pending cases.

Because CEA’s comments and petition did not pertain to the merits of any specific rate case, but were rather broader and applicable to all PSC decision-making, CEA requested that its petition be withdrawn from the record. In a letter to the PSC, CEA reiterated its support for a balanced approach to all PSC decisions and affirmed its commitment to a process that recognizes consumers.

With more than 250 affiliate organizations and over 400,000 individual consumers nationwide (including thousands of Wisconsinites) focused on ensuring affordable and reliable energy for all consumers, CEA supports rules that provide proper incentives for net-metering program participants and are fair for all electricity consumers statewide. It is important that consumers pay attention to these challenges and make sure that all voices are heard during discussions about new rules.

CEA has a long history of non-partisan support for all energy resources and a rational dialogue on how energy affects consumers from every sector of the economy nationwide. We look forward to continuing this important mission in Wisconsin and the other states in which we operate.