Who Protects Energy Customers?

Wisconsin lawmakers have voted to eliminate funding for the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The state’s Joint Committee on Finance voted 12 to 4 along party lines, to eliminate funding for the CUB, Wisconsin’s primary advocate for residential electricity customers. Republican John Nygren said that this would reduce the state’s budget by $1.3 million over two years. In contrast, the group states it saved ratepayers $161 million last year alone and $3 billion since 2008.

Most states—both regulated and restructured—have state-funded organizations that advocate on behalf of ratepayers. The National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA) is comprised of consumer advocacy organizations and attorneys general from 41 states and the District of Columbia. NASUCA’s Electricity Committee addresses issues such as, “the nature of default service in restructured states, market power and market monitoring and Regional Transmission Organizations.” The Gas Committee, “works on a wide variety of issues that impact the cost of natural gas service for residential utility customers.” Although these organizations generally focus more on residential issues, they often advocate for business customers as well. Businesses have other organizations that advocate on their behalf as well, such as manufacturing alliances and local Chambers of Commerce.

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