Former Green Bay Packer offensive tackle Mark Tauscher signed up to tackle for solar in Wisconsin as the state’s utilities are teaming up to increase fees on all customers for and at least one that wants to reduce what it pays to those that generate their own electricity. Tauscher, who is now a broadcaster and co-owner of Madison newspaper Isthmus, is now using his voice to advocate for solar as the state’s utilities are having public discussions with regulators about their plans to raise rates.
“Recently, we were invited by the local solar trade association to share our thoughts on rooftop solar and learn more about the billing proposals by three Wisconsin utilities. The more we learned, the more concerned we became,” Tauscher wrote in a letter posted at the Wisconsin Solar Energy Industries Association’s site. “Our utilities are pushing billing proposals that would restrict our freedom to choose solar and stifle economic growth.”
Tauscher's advocacy comes as Wisconsin Public Service Corp., Madison Gas & Electric and We Energies have proposed increasing the fixed charge on customers to support solar installations in the state. The utilities argued that the rate structure is unfair and forces customers without solar subsidizing those with it. In addition, We Energies has proposed reducing the rate it reimburses for customers with renewable energy, according to the Journal Sentinel. The state held public hearings on Wednesday and Thursday this week.
“Sarah and I have joined more than 1,000 Wisconsinites asking state officials to give Wisconsin solar energy a chance to compete,” Tauscher said. The state was accepting public comment on the proposals earlier this week.
Despite their filings the Journal Sentinel observed that the utilities said the impact isn’t big at this point. That’s because only hundreds of their customers have solar power but they’re concerned that with the falling cost of solar that number could grow.
“Today, just 0.02 percent of Wisconsin’s electricity comes from solar,” Tauscher said. He advocated for growing the amount solar in the state to just one percent. “Amazingly, this simple, fair, and conservative change would create thousands of jobs in Wisconsin’s solar industry,” he added.Tweet