MEEA Policy Insider - April 2020

The MEEA Policy Insider summarizes the latest state policy activity and provides new resources to aid members in their outreach, education and advocacy initiatives.

In this issue:


Given the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government, state governments, local governments, institutions, utilities and other organizations are taking actions to promote or require degrees of social distancing. As a result, utility commissions, state legislatures and state energy offices have been impacted, including delay or suspension of state legislative sessions and other state activities. Additionally, utilities throughout the Midwest have taken steps to delay, suspend or cancel parts of their energy efficiency programs.    

MEEA is tracking impacts from COVID-19. Expect blog posts, webinars and other resources as the situation evolves. For consolidated information, see MEEA’s COVID-19 resources page. Members who are able to share information about utility program and energy service impacts or have any resource needs, please contact Policy Director Nick Dreher.

COVID-19 Impacts Webinar (Recording)

On April 15, MEEA held a webinar looking at the broad impact of COVID-19 on energy efficiency in the region. The webinar provides policy updates, responses, status of programs, resources and some considerations as the industry faces setbacks. MEEA will produce more resources on specific issues based on feedback from the webinar. See the presentation slides and recording.

Upcoming Webinars

Exploring On-Bill Financing Across the Midwest

SAVE THE DATE: Tuesday, May 5 12-1 PM CT

On-bill financing is becoming more prevalent in the EE industry, allowing residential customers to fund efficiency projects. MEEA's policy team will walk through on-bill financing's application throughout the Midwest. Then, hear from Slipstream to talk through their key learnings from administering on-bill programs around the country and how these programs vary per customer segment. Register here.

Recent Webinars

Dynamic Pricing

On March 27, MEEA’s Policy team held a webinar on dynamic rate design, including time-of-use rates. This webinar provided an introduction to time-varying rates, including a review of regional and national practices, a walk-through of some programs and pilots in the Midwest and a consumer advocate’s perspective. See the presentation slides and recording.

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Illinois’ Senate is adjourned through May 5 and the House is adjourned until notice from the chair.

The General Assembly reconvened its 2020 session on January 28. The Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) (H.B. 3624) is unlikely to receive a vote due to COVID-19. The bill saw subject-matter hearings in both the House and Senate prior to disruptions. The Senate Energy Committee chaired by Senator Hastings held two energy working group meetings this month to hear testimony on elements of CEJA related to certain topic areas.


On April 20, the Illinois Commerce Commission joined regulators and advocates in filing a petition against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over FERC’s Minimum Price Offering Rule (MOPR) which they are concerned shifts more costs to customers and creates a disadvantage for clean energy.

The Illinois Energy Efficiency Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) will spend most of 2020 facilitating an EE portfolio planning process between utilities and stakeholders. The objective is for consensus to be reached prior to utilities filing plans for approval with the Illinois Commerce Commission on March 1, 2021. Interested parties are encouraged to participate.

Due to COVID-19, large group and working group meetings will be held via teleconference until further notice. Meeting information, COVID-19 updates and documents can be found on the SAG website.

How to Get Involved

For more information about Illinois or to get more involved, contact Nick Dreher.

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2020 is a short session year for Indiana. The legislative session adjourned sine die on March 11.


Integrated resource planning is ongoing for Indiana utilities.

Current filing deadlines for the next IRPs are:

  • Vectren: May 1, 2020
  • NIPSCO: Nov 1, 2021

Utility stakeholder meetings will continue during the planning period and will be posted on the utility IRP page linked above. Updates from the commission on IRPs in Indiana will be posted to the IURC’s IRP page.

How to Get Involved

IRP meetings are all open to the public. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend.

If you have any questions about Indiana or want to get more involved, contact Greg Ehrendreich.  


On March 18, the Kansas House voted down Governor Kelly’s executive reorganization order (ERO) that would move the State Energy Office from under the Kansas Corporation Commission to a separate, independent office.

How to Get Involved

For more information about Kansas or to get more involved, contact Samarth Medakkar.


On March 20, 2020, DTE submitted a revised IRP including energy waste reduction (EWR) levels of 1.75% in 2020, prorated based on the date of the final order in this case, and 2.0% in 2021. On April 15, the MPSC issued a final order approving the utility’s revised IRP.


Michigan’s 2020 legislative session kicked off on January 8 and is expected to conclude June 11 (with tentative dates scheduled the weeks of June 16 and June 23). Due to COVID-19 concerns, the House and Senate adjourned until March 25. The legislature has since convened periodically for COVID response, most recently on April 24.

How to Get Involved

For more information about Michigan or to get more involved, contact Nick Dreher.


On December 2, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 19-37, establishing both the Climate Change Subcabinet and the Governor’s Advisory Council on Climate Change. The subcabinet, which will consist of members from fifteen cabinet-level agencies, will come up with recommendations to help the state to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals. The appointed members of the citizens’ advisory council will advise the cabinet and the Walz administration on ways to mitigate climate change, improve resiliency and increase interagency collaboration. As of April, members of the subcabinet and advisory council had not yet been appointed.


The Minnesota legislature suspended in-person meetings due to COVID-19, with some exceptions for emergency response. The legislature has been conducting virtual committee meetings.

Numerous energy-related bills were introduced this session. HF3436 would allocate $131.5 million to renewable and energy efficiency projects, HF3955 would alter the low-income Conservation Improvement Program and SF4219 would alter the procedure for adopting new energy building codes. Though much attention this session was on the Clean Energy First Act (HF1405; SF1456), nothing has been done on the bill since the COVID crisis began. Since the bills do have some major differences, a conference committee may be needed in the event the two chambers pass their respective bills. It remains to be seen if the bills will be taken up virtually.

The Energy Conservation and Optimization Act (HF4502; SF4409) was heard in the Senate and House Energy Committees on April 23. ECO would expand the Conservation Improvement Program to allow for beneficial electrification. The bill would also eliminate utility minimum spend requirements for energy conservation, double the electric IOUs’ minimum spend requirements for low-income customers, and increase the energy savings goal for electric IOUs from 1.5% to 1.75% of annual retail sales. Committee members expressed eagerness to move the bill as it has wide support amongst utilities and environmental groups. Both committees passed the bill and it is now set to be heard on the House floor.


On March 10 Governor Walz appointed State Commerce Department Deputy Commissioner of Energy Resources Joseph Sullivan to the Public Utilities Commission. Sullivan began his six-year term on April 6, though the appointment will be reviewed by the Minnesota Senate.

How to Get Involved

For more information about Minnesota or to get more involved, contact Maddie Wazowicz.


On February 6, Governor DeWine reappointed Commissioner Lawrence Friedeman to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) for a five-year term that begins on April 11, 2020.

On February 26, the PUCO ruled that the 2020 EE portfolios shall run through September 30, 2020, and then ramp-down and terminate on December 31, 2020. On November 25, 2019, MEEA and other interested parties submitted public comments to the PUCO as part of the EE docketed proceedings. It is unclear what EE Plans will look like post-2020, although it is likely utilities will file voluntary EE Plans for next year.

On March 27, Duke Energy requested a rehearing to resolve the cost true up, lost distribution revenues and shared savings associated with energy efficiency programs through December 31, 2020. On April 22, the PUCO granted Duke’s request for rehearing.

How to Get Involved

For more information about Ohio or to get more involved, contact Nick Dreher.

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On March 10 Governor Evers’ Task Force on Climate Change met in Stevens Point. The Task Force on Climate Change, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, will continues to meet over the spring and summer. The Task Force is charged with issuing recommendations by August 31, 2020. On April 22, Lieutenant Governor Barnes mentioned that this deadline could be pushed back due to the COVID crisis.


The State Legislature began its 2020 session on January 15. Senator LeMahieu and Representative Kuglitsch, chairmen of the House and Senate energy and utilities committees, introduced SB 689, a bill that makes technical changes to the Public Service Commission (PSC) and Citizens Utility Board (CUB). The bill provides $900,000 in funding for CUB from electric and natural gas investor-owned utilities. The bill also changes the threshold at which certain natural gas projects must receive PSC-issued certificates and eliminates the requirement that the PSC prepare an environmental assessment on its biennial strategic energy assessment, among other changes. The bill passed out of the Senate Committee on Utilities and Housing unanimously on February 10. With the Assembly and Senate adjourned, this bill failed to pass. It remains to be seen if unpassed bills will or can be taken up if a special session is called.


Governor Evers has appointed Tyler Huebner to the PSC, effective March 17. Prior to the appointment, Commissioner Huebner served as the executive director for RENEW Wisconsin. Commissioner Huebner will complete former Commissioner Mike Huebsch’s term that expires March 1, 2021.

How to Get Involved

For more information about Wisconsin or to get more involved, contact Nick Dreher.

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On March 27, the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which provides relief for individuals, state and local governments, large corporations, public health organizations and small businesses. On April 24th, Congress approved additional $310 billion for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. For a breakdown of the relief package, eligibility and resources, see our blog post.


On March 18, PJM filed a compliance filing in accordance with the MOPR order. In the filing, PJM proposes to post specific schedules for upcoming auctions by either June 15 or 14 days after FERC approves the filing, whichever date is later.

On December 19, 2019 the FERC voted 2 to 1 to issue an order making changes to PJM’s capacity market and Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR). In short, all new resources, including energy efficiency and demand response, will need to meet higher price floors. On April 16, FERC voted to uphold this December ruling, denying requests for a rehearing to reconsider the December order. For a comprehensive summary on the complexities of the MOPR and capacity markets you can read this Vox article.

The Senate voted to confirm James Danly to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Commissioner Danly’s term runs through June 30, 2023.

How to Get Involved

For more information about how this federal activity will impact the region or to get more involved, contact Nick Dreher.


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