Legislators ask for financial report on Focus on Energy
A letter to Public Service Commissioner Ellen Nowak from State Representatives Brett Hulsey, Kelda Roys, Louis Molepske, Terese Berceau, and Senator Fred Risser:
March 13, 2012
Commissioner Ellen Nowak
Public Service Commission
610 North Whitney Way, 3rd Floor
Post Office Box 7854
Madison, WI 53707-7854
Dear Commissioner Nowak:
The nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau conducted an audit on the Focus on Energy program last year and determined that every tax dollar spent on program incentives and activities produced a benefit of $2.30. State energy figures show Wisconsinites sent $12.5 billion out of state each year for gasoline, coal and natural gas, causing the loss of over 100,000 jobs leaving our state. That assessment was reached using data available through 2010.
We are interested in learning the results for the year of 2011 for the Focus on Energy program. Last year, we saw substantial changes to the program, including the selection of a new administrator and a decision to suspend incentives for renewable energy systems beginning last July. As you know, the Legislature rolled back the funding increase scheduled for 2012 and this has hurt many businesses in Wisconsin.
The ongoing suspension of assistance through the Focus on Energy program for 2012 is causing a major disruption for hundreds of renewable energy companies in our state that had previously worked with the program as a partnership in providing clean energy, economic development and energy independence. Furthermore, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy issued a report singling out Wisconsin as a state that is headed in the wrong direction. (http://www.jsonline.com/business/wisconsin-falling-behind-on-energysaving-efforts-vv4akt3-140393773.html)
The importance of the Focus on Energy program to Wisconsin’s economic well-being cannot be overstated. In order to make informed decision on Focus on Energy’s future, the State Legislature will need the latest financial information on the program’s budget and the results of the programs energy incentives and activities.
Therefore, we would appreciate your providing us with Focus on Energy’s 2011 expenditures and savings relative to budgeted amounts and the actual dollars spent on renewables in 2011 and the estimated savings.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to hearing from you.
Brett Hulsey, State Representative
Fred Risser, Sate Senator
Kelda Roys, State Representative
Louis Molepske, State Representative
Terese Berceau, State Representative