Repower Madison has released two new reports that dig deeper into MGE’s efforts to engage ratepayers on the future of the utility. MGE undertook these efforts because of substantial backlash from community members to its proposals to substantially raise fixed fees on utility bills.
The first paper, MGE’s Community Conversations: Where We Go From Here, by Kevin Myers, provides a summary of themes that emerged from a number of community meetings with MGE ratepayers. The first and foremost finding is that over 70% of the participants in the community meetings want MGE to increase investments in renewable energy sources. MGE’s customers are also overwhelmingly against any future efforts to raise fixed fees on bills. Myers also provides a roadmap on the continuing process of public engagement between MGE and its customers.
The second paper, An Analysis of Customer Comments from MGE’s Community Energy Conversation Surveys, by Julie Foertsch, Ph.D. and Nancy Korda, digs deep into the questions and answers that MGE’s customers provided during MGE’s community outreach in 2015. MGE hired the consulting firm Justice and Sustainability Associates (JSA) to run the project of gathering input from the community. The project included a written survey about customer energy priorities and the company’s future goals with an open ended comment section. The JSA summary report provides a complete list of all responses to its open ended survey questions, but it does not attempt to categorize or quantify those responses in any way, making it unclear how many respondents shared particular goals or concerns when allowed to say anything they wanted
In order to provide more clarity on what MGE customers really think about MGE’s energy services and choices, this report shows the results of a quantitative analysis of MGE survey comments related to customer priorities and concerns. The authors are a professional program evaluator with years of experience coding and quantifying survey comments and an environmental planner who served on the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.