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Industry Updates: WWA Policy Watch

Wisconsin Water Policy Watch Volume 10 Issue 5

Friday, March 27, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Michael Heyroth
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Volume 10 Issue 5 | March 27, 2020
Wisconsin Water Policy Watch
A Legislative and Regulatory Newsletter
Emergency Order #11 conveys suspension of PSC rules during the health emergency
On March 22, Governor Tony Evers signedEmergency Order #11, which empowers the PSC to suspend certain PSC administrative rules and issue orders necessary to respond to Wisconsin’s public health emergency.A health emergency was declared in the governor’s Executive Order #72.All specific requests for suspension of rules made by PSC Commissioner Rebecca Valcq in a March 20, 2020 letter to the governor were incorporated by reference into the governor’s emergency order.
At its March 22 meeting, the PSC approved two emergency orders pursuant to Valcq’s request.Attorney Lawrie Kobza hassummarizedwhat these two orders mean for public utilities.Kobza says it is important to note that “any public utility may submit a request to modify the requirements in the order with respect to specific situations.”
Briefly, the emergency order inDocket 5-UI-120:
  • Suspends all disconnections and disallows refusing service to customers for any reason except to prevent a dangerous situation.Exceptions must be requested.
  • Suspends the proof of identity requirement for service; utilities may ask, but may not refuse to connect for failure to provide documentation.
  • Requires utilities to offer deferred payment agreement and budget payment plans to all customers (residential and nonresidential)with the exception that any existing utility tariff related to tenants may remain in effect.
  • Suspends late fees.
  • Suspends deposits as a condition of new service.
  • Allows utilities to waive credit card convenience fees after seeking a waiver from the PSC.
The PSC will be accepting comments related to this order as part of Docket 5-UI-120 using the PSC'sElectronic Regulatory Filing (ERF) system.
Another emergency order (in Docket 5-AF-105) authorizes all public utilities to defer expenditures incurred by the utility resulting from its compliance with emergency orders and to track these deferred costs.This docketwill seek comment on how to handle the accounting for deferred expenditures and any deferred revenues.
Comments in this Docket 5-AF-105 are due no later thanFriday, April 3, 2020, at 1:30 p.m. and should be filed on the PSC’s Electronic Regulatory Filing (ERF) system.
DNRDrinking Water Program provides informal guidance to waterworks operators
On Thursday, waterworks operators in Brown, Green Lake, Manitowoc, Marquette, Brown, and Waushara Counties received some guidance on navigating the current emergency situation from Wendy Anderson, P.E., Water Supply Engineer with the Drinking and Groundwater Division.
The emailcovers questions you may have about sanitary surveys, start-up inspections, communications with the DNR, supplies, social distancing, customer interactions, sampling, operator certification, monthly reports, construction, turning on water for seasonal customers, and things to do if you've got some spare time.
The email also provides the following links to COVID 19 websites:
2019-2020 Legislative Session Watch List
Creates local government grants for private well testing. Expands eligibility for mitigation grants for well owners and renters.
Status:In Committee.
Establishes groundwater quality standards for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)
Status:Assembly Committee held hearing on April 4.
Contracts with a third party to provide a system for buying and selling water pollution credits.
Status:Enacted into law on March 3 and published March 4.
Creates an incentive for property owners to abate lead hazards in their
residential properties.
Status:In Committee.
Requires day cares, group homes and recreational camps to test drinking water sources as a condition of licensure.
Status:The Senate passed it on January 21 and messaged it to the Assembly. Assembly did not schedule it for a vote.
Requires K-12 schools receiving federal funds to test drinking water for lead contamination at least once every three years.
Status:Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy approved the substitute amendment version on a 5-0 vote on January 22.
Restricts use of Class B acqueous film forming foams (AFFF)
Status:Enacted into law on February 5 and published February 6.
Expands Clean Sweep program to include PFAS
Status:Assembly passes.
Empowers DNR to set PFAS environmental standards, restrict use, and set up PFAS grant programs for municipalities
Status:Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee approved on a 4-1 vote on February 11.
Creates funding for various PFAS testing and remediation activities called for in other legislation.
Status:Senate committee approves on a 4 - 1 vote on February 11.
Establishes PFAS management zones with special requirements and funding.
Status:Public hearing held on February 7.
Creates a municipal grant program to fund PFAS activities and funds several DNR positions relating to PFAS.
Status:Public hearing held on February 7.
Amended by Assembly to include PFAS provisions
Status:Assembly passes. Awaiting Senate vote.
Establishes UW System Freshwater Collaborative.
Status:Passed Assembly. Awaiting Senate vote.

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