MEEA Policy Insider - March 2019

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

Ready to get involved? There are advocacy opportunities in IndianaOhio and at the federal level.

In this issue:

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Following the February 15, 2019 filing deadline for bill introductions, legislators in Illinois introduced several pieces of legislation that would impact energy efficiency and the energy sector:

  • HB 3624 (Rep. Ann Williams): Clean Energy Jobs Act. A comprehensive clean energy and environmental bill. The bill was amended on February 28 to add the full text of legislation. The bill makes several changes including: moving to a 4-year plan cycle (currently 5-year); expands gas utility energy efficiency requirements; repeals the industrial exemption; increases spending on income qualified programs; among other provisions.

  • HB 2855 (Rep. Robyn Gabel): requires the Illinois Commerce Commission to develop a plan for increasing electric vehicle adoption in the state through beneficial electrification programs, such as time-of-use rates and demand response.

  • HB 2899 (Rep. Sam Yingling): changes the Alternate Fuels Act to make electricity the only acceptable fuel source for charging station grants and vehicle rebates (current law allows “alternate fuel”).

  • HB 2801 (Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch): requires an inter-agency report that studies how to “decarbonize Illinois’ electric sector in a just and equitable way.” The following agencies would contribute to the report: Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Illinois Power Agency.

  • HB 2926 (Justin Slaughter): requires the ICC, through an independent third-party contractor, to analyze the potential costs and benefits of energy storage systems.

  • HB 2956 (Rep. William Davis): removes the industrial customer exemption originally passed as part of the Future Energy Jobs Act (2016).

How to Get Involved

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

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Integrated resource planning is ongoing for Indiana utilities:

  • The commission granted Duke a filing extension to March 1, 2019, and a second extension to May 1, 2019 was granted at the end of February.

  • Indiana Michigan Power was granted a filing extension for their IRP of May 1, 2019 (IMP’s Michigan filing has been extended to June 15, 2019).

  • Indianapolis Power & Light has begun their 2019 IRP stakeholder process. Their next stakeholder meeting is March 26, 2019.

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.

The IURC has announced the date for its 2019 IRP Contemporary Issues Conference – Monday, April 15, 2019.

How to Get Involved

Utility IRP meetings are open to anyone interested in attending. The IRP Contemporary Issues conference is also open to all interested parties.

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

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Alliant Energy, MidAmerican Energy and Black Hills Energy have filed their revised 2019- 2023 plans in consideration of SF 2311. The utility hearings have been completed:

  • MidAmerican Energy’s hearings were held on November 19 and November 20

  • Alliant Energy’s hearing was on December 12

  • Black Hills Energy’s hearings were on January 15 and January 16.

On February 18, Iowa regulators approved MidAmerican’s revised 2019-2023 Energy Efficiency and Demand Response plan.


On February 21, SF 351 was introduced by Senators Schneider and Nunn. It requires owners of rental properties with greater than 12 units to disclose average annual utility service costs for units with the same number of bedrooms upon entering a rental agreement with a prospective tenant.   

How to Get Involved

Hearings are open to the public. If you have questions about Iowa or want to get more involved, contact Samarth Medakkar.  


On February 4, Governor Whitmer announced the reorganization and renaming of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality. Executive Order 2019-02 restructured DEQ as the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). The order also created new offices within the department, including the Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate, the Office of the Environmental Justice Public Advocate, and the Interagency Environmental Justice Response Team. However, on February 14, the Senate joined the House in rejecting EO 2019-02. On February 25, the governor revised the original restructuring proposal to appease legislators. The revision relates to regulatory review boards – panels that review the impact regulation will have on, for instance, economic growth. The original restructuring would have eliminated three advisory bodies, but the revision limits the elimination to a single regulatory advisory board – the Environmental Science Advisory Board. With this change, the governor does not expect further challenge to the DEQ’s new structure.

On February 7, Governor Whitmer announced that Dan Scripps will be the new Michigan Public Service Commissioner. The open seat was vacated when Governor Whitmer appointed then Commissioner Rachel Eubanks to State Treasurer. The Michigan Senate has 60 days to consent to or reject the governor’s appointment.


Ongoing energy efficiency-related MPSC dockets to be aware of:

DTE Energy’s integrated resource plan filing is expected late March.

On February 27, 2019, the MPSC opened case U-20464 to issue a report on the state’s energy supply, engineering and deliverability of natural gas, electricity and propane, and contingency planning as requested by Governor Whitmer. The governor’s request for this evaluation and reporting came immediately following a January 30 fire at a Consumers Energy facility during the polar vortex. During the event, Consumers Energy asked its customers to set thermostats lower, and interruptible customers (including manufacturers, etc.) were interrupted to meet demand.

How to Get Involved

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


On March 4, Governor Tim Walz announced a plan for making Minnesota’s electricity carbon-free by 2050, describing the effort as an “economic and moral” responsibility. Late last year, Xcel Energy announced the same commitment, signaling an opportunity for the governor. The governor also announced that future energy planning for new generation would prioritize clean energy sources over fossil fuels and an intention to raise energy efficiency standards for investor-owned utilities to assist low-income households in particular.


Public Utility Commission Chair Nancy Lange’s term ended on January 7. Governor Walz will nominate a new commissioner for a six-year term. After which, the senate must confirm the commissioner within 60 days of the nomination.


On February 14, HF 1191 was introduced, which directs the Public Utilities Commission to develop and approve a public utilities energy conservation financial incentive to encourage public utility investment in cost-effective energy conservation measures.

On February 18, HF 1360 was introduced, which would modify the commercial property assessed clean energy (PACE) project eligibility and financing structure.

On February 25, HF 1683 was introduced. This bill would establish a framework for utility customer data access, including utility access, customer access, third party access and aggregated public access.

On February 28, SF 1915 was introduced, broadening the list of allowable activities to meet the conservation improvement goals, establishing a new cooperative utility energy savings provision and repealing the municipal utility energy savings requirements.

On March 4, HF 1956 (the Clean Energy First Act) was introduced and would, among other things, increase annual electric utility energy savings targets from 1.5% to 2.5%.  

How to Get Involved

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

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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 procedural schedule for the KCP&L MEEIA (Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act) 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. The cycle 3 plan must be filed no latter than May 1, 2019.  

On December 5, 2018 the Missouri Public Service Commission approved Ameren Missouri’s energy efficiency programs. Over $200 million will be invested over the next three years. Another $50 million was approved for a six-year cycle for low-income customers and affordable housing owners.

How to Get Involved

For more information about Missouri or to get more involved, contact Sophia Markowska.

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At the request of Governor Ricketts, Senator Dan Hughes proposed a bill to merge the Energy Office and the Department of Environmental Quality. The bill would rename the combined agencies the “Department of Environment and Energy” and would transfer all statutory powers, responsibilities, employees and assets of the State Energy Office to the Department of Environment and Energy.

How to Get Involved

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


The Ohio House of Representatives created a new Subcommittee on Energy Generation under the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. This new subcommittee is co-chaired by Republican Rep. Dick Stein and Democrat Rep. Michael O’Brien.

The Ohio Senate has decided to combine the Energy and Natural Resources Committee with the Public Utilities Committee. The new Energy and Public Utilities Committee is chaired by Senator Steve Wilson.


Former Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Chairman Asim Haque, who announced his resignation effective March 1, 2019, creates a vacancy at the PUCO. Applications were requested and the PUCO Nominating Council will conduct interviews with selected applicants on March 14, 2019, at which point the Nominating Council will submit four names to the governor for his consideration. Details on the commission appointment process can be found here.

On February 6, 2019 the PUCO granted further consideration for parties that applied for a rehearing of “green rules.” Utilities and interested stakeholders expressed concern when the PUCO issued a final order on December 19, 2018 that made several changes to the Ohio Administrative Code concerning  energy efficiency programs and renewable portfolio standard compliance in the state. In January 2019, utilities, consumer advocates and environmental groups in their rehearing applications all stated concern that the order removes the pre-approval process for energy efficiency programs and creates a post-program annual audit, which could impact stakeholder engagement and certainty around cost-recovery. Parties also weighed in on changes to shared savings, the definition of “non-energy benefits” and changes to the TRM update. Rehearing applications, memorandum and other information concerning this rule can be found here.

On February 27, 2019 the PUCO directed electric utilities to file grid modernization plans, due April 1, 2019.

PowerForward’s Data and Modern Grid Working Group met on March 5, 2019 at the PUCO’s office. The agenda included presentations from utilities and stakeholders on their current work and positions on data requirements.

How to Get Involved

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

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On February 28, Governor Evers released the two-year Wisconsin budget proposal. The proposal has several recommendations relating to energy, including:

  • Creating the Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy within the Department of Administration to advance clean energy initiatives
  • Creating a statutory goal that all electricity produced in the state should be 100% carbon free by 2050
  • Modifying current law to allow the Public Service Commission to increase the funds available to Focus on Energy beyond 1.2 percent of each utility’s annual operating revenues by submitting a proposal to the Joint Committee on Finance
  • Modifying the business development tax credit to provide an additional 5% incentive for capital investments related to energy efficiency or renewable energy projects


Commissioner Rebecca Valcq's two-year term as chairperson became effective on March 2. Commissioner Ellen Nowak was the previous chairperson that was appointed in January 2019 by out-going Governor Walker. 

How to Get Involved

For more information about Wisconsin or to get more involved, contact Sophia Markowska.


Alliance to Save Energy Advocacy Alerts

In February, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a plan to undo lightbulb energy efficiency rules that were set to go into effect next year. The upcoming standards were going to save the average household more than $100 per year.

On March 11, President Trump issued his budget plan for the next year, which included a proposal to cut key federal energy efficiency investment by two-thirds. The president’s plan would cut funding for:

  • Weatherizing low-income families’ homes

  • Setting standards to ensure our appliances aren’t wasting energy

  • Investments in research to develop the next breakthrough energy-efficient technologies

How to Get Involved

You can send a message to your member of Congress using the Alliance to Save Energy’s action alerts for both the light bulb energy efficiency regulation rollback and the federal budget energy efficiency programs rollback.


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