General FAQs

What is under the jurisdiction of the PSC?

What is under the jurisdiction of the PSC?


The PSC is responsible for regulating the rates, safety, adequacy and quality of service of electric, natural gas, and water utilities. The PSC has limited authority over sanitary sewer and storm water utilities and very limited aspects of telecommunications services. More than 1,100 utilities are under the agency's jurisdiction.

Telecommunications services under the jurisdiction of the PSC is limited to provider to provider issues, some aspects of Lifeline/Link-up equipment for individuals with special needs.

What is not under the jurisdiction of the PSC?


Energy

◾ Federally deregulated wholesale market price of natural gas and electricity supplies

◾ Fuel oil

◾ Gasoline

◾ Most activities of the 28 electric cooperatives

◾ Propane


Other types of Telecommunications-related services


◾ Land line phone service

◾ Cable TV

◾ Cellular phone service

◾ Internet service providers

◾ Long Distance Providers

◾ Most VOIP providers

◾ Telemarketing practices

◾ Third party telecommunications billing


Questions about electric cooperatives may be directed to Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association at 608-467-4649. Questions about Propane may be directed to the National Propane Association at 630-515-0600. Questions regarding any other service listed above can be directed to the Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection at 800-422‑7128.

Can the utility backbill me for service because of a defective meter?

Commission rules require utilities to bill customers for all usage. This includes issuing backbills that result from inaccurate, interchanged or switched meters, underestimated meter readings, meters that haven't been read for long periods of time, or clerical errors. The utility is limited to backbilling for a period of two years. If a customer is unable to pay the entire backbilled amount, the utility is required to offer payment arrangements.

What is the interest rate on customer deposits?

This is provided as information to all utilities. The Public Service Commission (PSC) adopted rules allowing the interest rate paid on customer deposits held by Wisconsin utilities to change annually. This came about primarily in response to changing economic conditions. As a result, each December, the PSC establishes the interest rate that will apply for the following calendar year.


The administrative code provision covering the interest rate and how it is determined reads as follows:


The rate shall be equal to the weekly average yield of one-year United States Treasury securities adjusted for constant maturity for the week ending on or after December 1, made available by the Federal Reserve Board, rounded to the nearest tenth of one percent.


Therefore, the PSC sets the interest rate for calendar year 2018 at 1.60 percent.


The history of the annual interest rates on customer deposits may be viewed here.

If you have any questions on this matter, please contact Consumer Affairs at 608-266-3766.

Public Involvement, Intervenor Status and Compensation

Submit comments electronically or by mail to Public Service Commission staff during open comment periods

Commission staff from time to time solicits public comments to aid in identifying issues and concerns for development of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement. Notifications are mailed out by Commission staff when public comments are needed and when such comments are being accepted. These public comments are used by Commission staff but are not made part of the official record in a case. The PSC regulates the states utilities and makes decisions that affect rates and construction of utility facilities.

The review process is formal, quasi-judicial and is intended to protect the publics best interest. When the PSC begins its review process for an application, it is often referred to as a case, proceeding or docket. Organizations or individuals can submit comments to Commission staff electronically or by mail. Please visit the PSC's Public Comments web page to find an active case before the Commission and submit your comments electronically using the Commission's Electronic Records Filing (ERF) System, or mail your comments to the Commission staff members listed for each case at:

Public Service Commission of Wisconsin P.O. Box 7854 Madison, WI 53707-7854

Attend public hearings and provide testimony

Public hearings are held for many cases before the Commission. Public hearings provide an opportunity for consumers, property owners, local government officials and others to bring their suggestions and concerns to the attention of the Commission.

Hearings are held in Madison as well as in the area affected by decisions in the case. Providing testimony at a hearing is easy. A lawyer is not necessary and you do not need to stay for the entire hearing.

If you choose to testify, you will be asked to fill out an appearance slip, will be called on by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), asked to state your name and address and asked to take an oath. You will then be allowed to begin your statement.

The ALJ ensures the hearings are conducted in a fair and orderly manner. All testimony provided at public hearings is included in the record that the Commission reviews in making a decision.

If you filled out an appearance slip at the hearing, the Commission will mail you a copy of the decision the Commission makes. For more information, please see the Commission’s brochure on Public Hearings or call the Commission at 608-266-5481 or toll free at 1-888-816-3831.

Submit a written comment in lieu of testimony at a public hearing

If organizations or individuals cannot be present at the public hearing to testify or choose not to provide verbal testimony, written comments in lieu of testimony can be filed electronically using the Commission Electronic Records Filing (ERF) System or by U.S. mail during the time period listed on the Commission Notice of Hearing. Written comments in lieu of testimony received electronically through the ERF or by mail have the same effect as public testimony stated in the record at a public hearing, and are included in the record that the Commission reviews in making a decision.

Please read this document for requirements and suggestions for creating effective comments.

Subscribe to the Commission’s Electronic Records Filing System

The Commissions Electronic Records Filing (ERF) System allows utilities, consumer groups and the public to file and view case documents online. All documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF) unless otherwise noted. Users can search by case number (Docket), utility, keyword, date range or document type.

Users can also subscribe to receive e-mail notification when documents are loaded to the system and set specific profiles for notifications. They can subscribe to receive an e-mail when notices are sent, when an order is issued or to receive all documents associated with a specific case.

Request to be an intervenor/party to a case

Intervenor status - often referred to as being a party to a case - is governed by Wisconsin Administrative Code provisions. Any person or organization whose substantial interests may be affected by the Commission’s decisions or those who will promote the proper disposition of the issues in the case can request to intervene. A person or organization with intervenor status may present evidence of a technical nature through witnesses, question witnesses of other parties or Commission staff and file briefs; a person or organization not a party to the case may not conduct these activities.

To intervene, please submit a written request to the Commission’s Administrative Law Judge.

Intervenor status

A person granted party status is responsible for prefiling testimony and exhibits according to the schedule set by the ALJ. They are also required to provide copies of these documents to all persons on the case’s service list and to the Commission. During the proceeding, parties receive copies of testimony and supporting documentation from the other parties. All prefiled testimony is subject to rebuttal by other parties of the case.

Intervenors must appear at the technical hearings and be available for cross-examination by the other parties. They are also allowed to ask other parties questions at the technical hearings and reply to rebuttal aimed at their testimony. All public testimony and testimony provided by parties at the technical hearings is given full consideration and becomes part of the record that the Commission reviews when making a decision.

Intervenor Compensation

In 1983, the Legislature created the Intervenor Compensation program to provide financial assistance for organizations and individuals who choose to become an intervenor for a Commission proceeding. Each year, the Commission awards a number of different organizations and individuals with finances to help them participate in cases. The Wisconsin Administrative Code sets the criteria used to evaluate applicants’ need for funding. Anyone interested in applying for intervenor compensation can do so by reviewing the information and application listed by clicking this link: Intervenor Compensation Information

If you have questions about the Intervenor Compensation program, please contact Sarah Klein at 608-267-7709 or Jenna2.Schmidt@wisconsin.gov.