Public Participation

Guide to Public Participation in PSC Proceedings

​What is a proceeding?

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) regulates the rates and services of the state's public utilities and reviews the need, cost, and location of new utility facilities. For each proposal the PSC conducts a proceeding to create a record of evidence that pertains to the case. This record is the only information upon which the Commission may rely when making its decision on a proposal. 

How to participate in a proceeding?

All proceedings provide the opportunity to participate either as a party, or as a member of the public. How a person participates in a proceeding depends on that person's interest in the issues and outcome of the case. Anyone may participate in a proceeding as a member of the public to express a personal opinion on the case. More information about how to do so appears in the section below called Public Participation. 

A person participates as party to protect or advance a substantial interest that may be affected by the Commission's decision on a proposal. A party may also participate to offer a particular perspective that will promote the proper disposition of the issues. To become a party a person must either:

1. Initiate a proceeding by application, petition, or complaint, or 

2. Intervene in an existing proceeding. For all parties, participation must occur in a formal trial-type hearing process. 

Public Participation

The PSC encourages public participation in its proceedings because public input is essential to reach the most fair and reasonable decision possible. There are many ways a member of the public can participate in a proceeding.

1. Anyone may follow the progress of a case by accessing the public documents filed for that case through the Electronic Records Filing System (ERF) on the PSC website: http://apps.psc.wi.gov/pages/ERFhome.htm. Those interested may sign up to receive e-mail notifications whenever a document is filed in a particular case. Information on how to receive e-mail notices appears at: http://apps.psc.wi.gov/pages/ERFhome.htm.

2. In all proceedings the public may comment by mail, or file a comment on the PSC website, http://apps.psc.wi.gov/pages/publicComment.htm. The notice of hearing for each proceeding contains instructions on filing comments and the comment filing deadline.

3. PSC staff may, from time to time, solicit comments from the public to aid in identifying issues and concerns for development of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement (EIS). Public comments are also solicited by PSC staff after it issues a preliminary determination on the need to prepare an EIS, and on a draft EIS if one is prepared. These public comments are used by Commission staff but are not made part of the official record in a docket. Notifications are mailed out by Commission staff when public comments are needed and when such comments are being accepted. There are no formal requirements for submitting these types of comments to Commission staff.

4. In more significant cases, the PSC will also conduct one or more live hearings to gather public comments. The PSC calls these hearings as "public hearing sessions". See the next section for more details on this form of participation.

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For more information:​


Guide to PSC Proceedings