WIEG: the voice for Wisconsin¹s energy-intensive businesses
The Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group (WIEG) is a nonprofit trade
association of large energy consumers that advocates for affordable and
WIEG represents more than 30 of Wisconsin¹s largest companies, which
together employ more than 50,000 Wisconsin residents who themselves are
state taxpayers and utility ratepayers. Many of these companies have
electric bills of over $1 million each month; for many, these costs are
among the companies¹ greatest expenses.
Wisconsin¹s economy is at a crossroads, and in the increasingly important
area of energy, WIEG is working to ensure that the state¹s strong
manufacturing base can afford to remain in the state. Wisconsin has the most
manufacturing jobs per capita in the country. It leads the nation in paper
production, and ranks near the top for metal casting and food processing.
Significantly, the manufacturing jobs in these and other industries pay 25%
more than the average and support at least two other jobs in the community.
Data from the paper industry indicates that the jobs it provides leads to as
many as six other jobs in local Wisconsin communities.
Energy fuels Wisconsin¹s industry and Wisconsin¹s economy. Energy is a major
cost of doing business, and its affordability can help or hinder job
creation, particularly when those costs are greater than energy costs in
neighboring states and other areas of the country. High energy costs
directly impact the bottom line of industrial customers because, in many
cases, these costs cannot be passed to downstream customers due to highly
competitive business conditions. The reality today is that many large
businesses can shift production to low energy-cost locations outside the
state, and when they do, energy rates rise further for everyone, including
the ³mom & pop² small business and the low income residential ratepayer.
WIEG¹s efforts on behalf of large energy users has led to significant
In 2014, Wisconsin¹s investor-owned utilities requested a total increase
of $219 million in base rates and fuel costs. WIEG intervened in these rate
cases and helped the PSC turn the combined requests for rate increases to an
overall rate increase of $82 million. That was a reduction of $137 million
or 63% from the original requests.
WIEG successfully sought a Real Time Market Pricing (RTMP) tariff for We
Energies¹ customers. In just a few years, these efforts have resulted in
savings of more than $18 million for those WIEG members that take service
under the new RTMP from We Energies. Following this win, WIEG successfully
worked for the adoption of a similar tariff (New Load Market Pricing, or
NLMP) for both Wisconsin Public Service Company and Wisconsin Power & Light
customers. Together, these new tariffs help promote economic growth and
development in Wisconsin, without shifting costs to any of the utility¹s
other customer groups.
WIEG continues to aggressively challenge federal and regional costs and
cost allocations. In late 2013, with other groups, WIEG filed a Joint
Complaint with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, asking that it
significantly reduce the tariffed return on equity allowed transmission
owners within the MISO footprint. WIEG was also part of a coalition that
petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review of FERC and Seventh
Circuit Court of Appeals¹ decisions that upheld the 100% socialization of
transmission costs associated with MISO¹s Multi Value Projects (MVP). WIEG
also successfully worked to change the cost allocation/rate design of System
Supply Resources (SSR)‹from energy to demand‹which has resulted in about a
20% reduction of transmission costs allocated to industrial customers.
WIEG successfully lobbied for Act 300 in the 2014 legislative session. Act
300 will allow industrial customers to create their own Renewable Resource
Credits (RRCs). This new law should help control the cost of Wisconsin¹s
renewable mandate and provide a new revenue stream for industrial customers
that own renewable or energy displacement facilities.
WIEG¹s successes depend on the strength of its members. Please join us in
our fight for more reasonable energy costs, to protect ratepayers, and
preserve jobs in Wisconsin.