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"Wisconsin's Most Vulnerable Residents Left in the Dark as DOA Stalls on Utility Assistance Program"

Updated: May 30

Wisconsin's Clean Energy and Quality of Life at Risk as DOA Stalls on Utility Assistance Program



Wisconsin is in danger of falling further behind neighboring states in the transition to clean energy and improving quality of life for residents as a promising utility assistance program remains in limbo due to inaction by the state Department of Administration (DOA).


The proposed We Energies Percentage of Income Payment Pilot Program (PIPP) aims to cap utility bills for low-income households at a set percentage of their income, providing much-needed relief for those struggling with rising energy costs. However, the DOA, which is responsible for administering and expanding public benefits programs, has yet to approve the pilot, leaving its future uncertain.


The delay is particularly concerning given Wisconsin's ambitious clean energy goals, which include achieving 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050. Programs like PIPP are crucial for ensuring an equitable transition that doesn't leave vulnerable residents behind. By reducing energy burden and freeing up funds for energy efficiency improvements, PIPP could help accelerate the adoption of clean energy technologies while improving quality of life for participants.


Unfortunately, the DOA's hesitancy to move forward with PIPP appears to stem from a combination of funding concerns, eligibility and implementation questions, balancing stakeholder interests, and evaluating long-term sustainability. While these are important considerations, the lack of transparency from the DOA on their specific objections has made it difficult to address these issues and find a path forward.


Application of Northern States Power Company, a Wisconsin Corporation, for Approval of a Residential Affordability Program and Request for Deferral



Meanwhile, other states in the region are surging ahead with similar programs. Xcel Energy, which serves customers in western and northwestern Wisconsin, has already proposed a PIPP that would cap bills at 4% of household income. Illinois and Minnesota have also implemented percentage of income payment plans, recognizing their value in promoting energy affordability and equity.


As the DOA continues to sit on the We Energies PIPP proposal, Wisconsin risks falling even further behind in the race to a clean energy future. The Public Service Commission (PSC), which regulates utilities in the state, has limited authority to compel action on this matter, leaving it up to the DOA to break the impasse.


It's time for the DOA to step up, provide clarity on their concerns, and work with stakeholders to find a solution that allows the PIPP pilot to proceed. Wisconsin's clean energy goals and the well-being of its most vulnerable residents depend on it. Without bold action on utility assistance programs like PIPP, the state will continue to lag behind its neighbors, sacrificing progress on both environmental sustainability and social equity.




Secretary: Kathy Koltin Blumenfeld

  • Phone: (608) 266-1741

Deputy Secretary: Chris Patton

Assistant Deputy Secretary: Danielle Williams

The mailing address for the DOA Secretary's Office is:

P.O. Box 7864

Madison, WI 53707


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Guest
Jun 06

why is all the time yall just keep asking for money. we are having hard enough time trying to keep a roof over our head. so yall come up with all these ideas and want the taxes payer to pay for it. I don't think that. that is fair

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Guest
Jun 06
Replying to

It's about rate payers - everyone who has a gas or eletric bill is a rate payer. Taxes and tax payers are not the focus of the issue.

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