MEEA Policy Insider - July 2019

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

Ready to get involved? There are advocacy opportunities in Indiana, Iowa and Michigan.

In this issue:

Policy Webinar: 2019 Legislative Wrap-Up

Wednesday, July 31, 12 p.m. (ET)
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As legislative sessions come to a close, join us for a wrap-up of energy efficiency policy developments across the region. Which bills passed, which failed, and which could come back in future sessions? We'll explore major legislative activity in Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Minnesota and Wisconsin, among other states in the region, and answer your questions. 


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The Illinois General Assembly concluded the spring session on June 3 and advanced several bills that impact the energy sector:

  • H.B. 2652 (Rep. Michael Halpin): allows for electric vehicle and solar ready appendices to be adopted in the building code, if approved by the Capital Development Board. Prior to this legislation, published supplements to the code were prohibited. The bill passed both the House and Senate and now goes to the governor for his expected approval.
  • H.B. 1438 (Rep. Kelly Cassidy): the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act is a comprehensive bill that legalizes adult recreational use of cannabis in Illinois. The legislation requires cannabis to be grown indoors and sets minimum lighting and HVAC efficiency technology standards for cultivation facilities. The bill also requires cultivation applicants to submit a plan that includes: estimates of monthly electricity and gas usage, to what extent it will procure energy from a local utility or from on-site generation, and if it has or will adopt a sustainable energy use and energy conservation policy.
    The bill passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law by the governor on June 25, 2019. The Department of Agriculture will now undertake an emergency rulemaking process to determine the specifics of the license requirements. MEEA has submitted comments to the department and offered to provide technical assistance.

  • H.B. 62 (Sen. Cullerton): a $45 billion capital bill that finances infrastructure projects throughout Illinois over the next six years. The bill passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law by the governor on June 28, 2019. The bill will finance:
    • $70 million for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects at state facilities
    • $70 million for electric vehicle charging infrastructure


  • S.B. 651 (Sen. Kimberly Lightford): updates regulations for alternative energy retail suppliers (ARES). Specifically, ARES would be required to provide customers with information about rates, fees and early termination charges, and report information about their rates to the Illinois Commerce Commission and the state Attorney General. The bill also requires ARES to receive customer consent before the contract is switched from a fixed rate to a variable rate and prohibits contracts from being automatically renewed. The bill passed both the House and Senate and now goes to the governor for his expected approval.
  • HB 3624 (Rep. Ann Williams): Clean Energy Jobs Act - a comprehensive clean energy and environmental bill. The bill passed out of the Energy and Environment Committee but was held on Second Reading and did not receive a House floor vote. This bill could see action in the fall veto session as part of a larger energy package. The bill would:
    • Expand gas utility energy efficiency requirements
    • Repeal the industrial exemption
    • Increase spending on income-qualified programs

The Illinois General Assembly is now adjourned, returning in the fall for veto session from October 28-30 and November 12-14, when legislation can continue to advance.

How to Get Involved

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

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Duke and Indiana Michigan Power filed their 2018 IRPs on July 1. Integrated resource planning is ongoing for Indiana utilities. Current deadlines for the next IRPs are:

  • IPL (2019 IRP): Nov 1, 2019
  • NIPSCO (2019 IRP): Nov 1, 2021
  • Vectren (2019 IRP): May 1, 2020

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

How to Get Involved

Utility IRP meetings are open to anyone interested in attending.

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

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On July 3, the Iowa Utility Board submitted an order requesting additional comments in ongoing docket RMU-2016-0018, a rulemaking docket intended to implement changes made to the Iowa Code by SF 2311 (2018) and SF 638 (2019). Through these comments, the board seeks to clarify its interpretation of the amended statutes. Comments can be submitted through the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) electronic filing system here.


On May 8, Governor Kim Reynolds signed standing appropriations bill SF 638, which includes provisions that would expand SF 2311’s rollback of the energy efficiency standard. SF 683 prohibits the approval of energy efficiency and demand response plans that exceed spending of 1.5% and 2.0% of expected annual retail rate revenue for gas and electric utilities, respectively.

Legislative session ended on May 3.

How to Get Involved

Iowa Utilities Board hearings are open to the public.

If you have questions about Iowa or want to get more involved, contact Samarth Medakkar.  


After January’s polar vortex forced power outages, Governor Whitmer requested the Michigan Public Service Commission issue a report on the state’s energy supply, engineering and deliverability of natural gas, electricity and propane, and contingency planning.

On March 5, MPSC staff issued its process outline for the Statewide Energy Assessment.

  • Timeline for Assessment Draft:
    • March 5: Final report outline posted
    • March: Begin research, prepare stakeholder inquiries & schedule meetings with stakeholders
    • April: Workgroups meet with stakeholders 
    • May 10-30: Workgroup chairs write their sections
    • June 1: Draft report compiled and turned over for final editing 
    • July 1: Draft report due
    • July 1-August 9: Public comment period
    • Sept 13: Final report due

The MPSC released the draft report on July 1 and issued an order on July 2 describing the remaining process for the MPSC’s assessment. Comments on the initial Statewide Energy Assessment report must be filed no later than 5 p.m (ET) on August 9, 2019. Written comments should be sent to: Executive Secretary, Michigan Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 30221, Lansing, MI 48909. Electronic comments should be e-mailed to Comments should reference docket U-20464.

How to Get Involved

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


The Minnesota House and Senate were ultimately unable to come to a consensus on an energy omnibus package before session ended. On March 4, the Clean Energy First Act (HF 1956) was introduced, which included Governor Walz’s proposal to move Minnesota’s electric supply to 100% carbon-free by 2050. This bill was consolidated into a larger jobs and energy package that passed out of the House on April 24. This House’s version incorporated the HF 1360 PACE project eligibility and financing structure. The Senate developed a different vision for Minnesota’s energy future in its omnibus bill SF 2611, which passed out of the Senate on April 29. The different omnibus packages required significant conferencing. On May 1, the five House members and five Senate members were appointed to settle the omnibus packages’ differences. On May 20, session ended and, for now, closed the window on the Senate and House jobs and energy packages.

Minnesota’s Legislative Energy Commission will be meeting for the first time in a year on July 30.  The meeting will feature presentations and a panel discussion on the Clean Energy First Act.

How to Get Involved

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

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On January 17, Governor Parson issued an executive order that will shift the Division of Energy to the Department of Natural Resources. The Public Service Commission and the Office of Public Counsel will be moved to the Department of Commerce and Insurance, which was formerly known as the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration. The order is effective August 28, 2019.


The procedural schedule for Kansas City Power & Light’s (KCP&L) Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act (MEEIA) cycle 3 plan has been suspended. KCP&L’s cycle 2 will be extended for nine months with a new end date of December 31, 2019. Negotiations for cycle 3 are continuing.  


Legislative session adjourned on May 17.

How to Get Involved

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


The merger of the Nebraska Energy Office and the Department of Environmental Quality into the Department of Environment and Energy is complete. The director of the newly created agency is Jim Macy, who has served as the Director of the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality over the last four years. All statutory powers, responsibilities, employees and assets of the State Energy Office have been transferred to the Department of Environment and Energy as required by LB 302.

Legislative session adjourned on June 6.

How to Get Involved

If you have questions about Iowa or want to get more involved, contact Samarth Medakkar 


On July 23, the House passed the Senate version of H.B. 6, and Governor DeWine signed the bill into law later that afternoon.

H.B. 6 subsidizes nuclear power plants and other generation sources in the state, but also provides financial support for two coal power plants in the Ohio Valley Electric Cooperative (OVEC). Unfortunately, the bill terminates the current energy efficiency resource standard after 2020. Under the final version of the bill, Ohio utilities are collectively required to reach a 17.5% cumulative energy savings goal (reduced from 22% and now allowing all utility savings to be counted collectively), which likely will be reached or almost reached by 2020. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is directed to determine the baseline and include existing banked savings in the calculation. Once the combined 17.5% energy savings is reached, utilities are prohibited from receiving cost recovery for energy efficiency programs, effectively ending utility-run energy efficiency in Ohio.

The debate over H.B. 6 took place over four months of hearings and saw several different versions of the bill in both the House and Senate. MEEA testified and provided expert analysis about the many benefits the energy efficiency standard has provided for Ohio residents and businesses throughout the legislative process. MEEA will continue to update its members and advocate for improvements to the legislation.

The legislature is on summer recess, returning in September for Fall session.


The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) granted an extension for energy efficiency plan filings. The utilities now have until September 1. 

How to Get Involved

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

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On July 3, Governor Evers issued 78 partial vetoes to the two-year budget passed by the state legislature. This included allocating $10 million from the VW settlement fund for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. It is unlikely there are enough votes in the state legislature to override the governor’s veto.

How to Get Involved

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


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