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Local Officials Lobby Congress on Electric Industry Issues

Mayor Bob Reinap and Utility Manager Dennis Westhuis joined four dozen community leaders from Wisconsin and 600 officials from across the country at the American Public Power Association’s annual legislative rally in the nation’s capital, Feb. 9-11.

With the 108th Congress expected to consider an energy bill this spring, Reinap and Westhuis urged Wisconsin’s representatives on Capitol Hill to ensure that strong consumer protections are in place before restructuring the electric utility industry.

“There is a significant possibility of action being taken on a bill that would adversely affect community-owned utilities and their customers,” Westhuis said. “Given the devastating results of electric deregulation in California and the continued fallout from the collapse of Enron, we encouraged our lawmakers to take a cautious approach to electric restructuring.”

The local officials also voiced their support for tradable tax credits to promote renewable energy and clean coal technology, and for legislation that promotes a competitive wholesale electric market for the benefit of all consumers.

In addition to meeting with Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl and Representative Petri, Reinap and Westhuis attended a ceremony honoring Representative Mark Green for his continued support of municipal electric utilities. Green accepted the 2003 “Friend of Public Power Award” given by Waupun’s power supplier, Wisconsin Public Power Inc. (WPPI), and the Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin (MEUW).

Waupun Utilities is an owner of WPPI, a Sun Prairie-based power company that supplies electricity and support services to 37 Wisconsin municipal utilities, and is a member of MEUW, an association representing the state’s 82 public power providers.