​​​Regulatory Processes

Since 1907, the Public Service Commission (PSC) has been responsible for the regulation of Wisconsin public utilities, including those that are municipally owned.

What is regulated

Types of utilities regulated include electric, natural gas, water,  and certain aspects of local telephone service. More than 1,100 utilities are under the agency's jurisdiction. Most of these must obtain PSC approval before:

  • Setting new rates
  • Issuing stocks or bonds
  • Undertaking major construction projects such as power plants, water wells, and transmission lines.

The PSC does not regulate cable TV, cellular phones, cellular towers, internet service providers, LP gas, or fuel oil.​

How it is regulated

The PSC works to ensure that, in the absence of competition, adequate and reasonably priced service is provided to utility customers. PSC approval is required before utilities can change rates or build large power plant and major transmission lines. The PSC has specific rules it must follow prior to making decisions on Commission Actions.

​Structure of PSC​

The PSC is composed of three full-time Commissioners that have oversight of all PSC staff related activities.

PSC staff consists of auditors, accountants, engineers, rate analysts, attorneys, planners, research analysts, economists, consumer analysts, consumer specialists, court reporters and paraprofessional and administrative support personnel. These experts work in an advisory role to the Commissioners.

Federal counterparts

The PSC has sole jurisdiction for utility regulation on the state level, but several agencies on the federal level perform parallel regulatory functions. These include the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Energy.

All divisions represent the PSC on state and national committees requiring staff expertise on utility matters.