Daily digest

Wisconsin regulators scale back utility fixed-rate request

NATURAL GAS: An Illinois commission is investigating whether utility executives hid information about the rising cost of a Chicago-area gas main replacement program to win approval for a major utility merger last year. (EnergyWire)

SUSTAINABILITY: Devastating floods from 2012 were a “real motivation” for the city of Duluth, Minnesota to overhaul its energy system into a more sustainable one. (Midwest Energy News)

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RATES:
• In a victory for consumer advocates, Wisconsin regulators scale back a utility’s request for another fixed-rate increase. (Associated Press)
Consumers Energy customers in Michigan will see a rate increase as the utility transitions from closing seven coal-fired units. (Associated Press)
As quickly as they became popular among utilities in response to load defection, increased fixed charges now appear to be on the way out. (Utility Dive)

TRANSMISSION: Developers of a major transmission project to carry wind energy from Iowa to Illinois confirms it has asked regulators to suspend its review while the company figures out how to move forward. Background here. (Associated Press, Midwest Energy News).

FRACKING: Drilling opponents fall far short of the signatures needed for a ballot measure to ban fracking in Michigan. (Detroit Free Press)

NUCLEAR: A majority of speakers during a hearing to lift Wisconsin’s moratorium on nuclear plants were in support of the idea. (WUWM)

SOLAR: Analysts predict the wind-down of solar tax credits will cause a short-term slump in the industry but strong growth after that. (Utility Dive)

UTILITIES:
• Regulated utilities nationwide continue spending tens of billions of dollars in capital investments despite a lack of demand growth. (Forbes)
A group of Michigan residents who sued DTE Energy over noise from one of its facilities in 2009 are now being ordered to pay the utility $400,000 in fines from the lawsuit. (WXYZ-TV)

OHIO:
• Regulatory staff ask for a one-month extension in two utility “bailout” cases, signaling an agreement with FirstEnergy and AEP may be near. (Columbus Business First)
State regulators will launch an investigation into whether electric resellers are operating illegally. (Columbus Dispatch)

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POLITICS: Minnesota Republicans want assurances the Dayton administration won’t block an oil pipeline project. (Minnesota Public Radio)

COMMENTARY:
• Ohio utilities continue pushing state lawmakers for a tax exemption that could ultimately be shouldered by ratepayers. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Attorneys general in Ohio and Michigan are fighting on the wrong side of the Clean Power Plan. (Toledo Blade)

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