Focus Funds for Rural Broadband Access, Energy Efficiency and Digesters

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) acted to allocate $47.5 million in unspent Focus on Energy funding to promote energy efficiency ($20-$35 million) and anaerobic digesters ($10-$20 million) in rural communities underserved by broadband. The premise of this action was to create parity in benefits between Focus ratepayers in rural areas and the rest of the state. While it was stated that the PSC action would not fund broadband infrastructure, they left the design of how to improve energy efficiency in rural areas, including expanding broadband access, to CB&I, Focus on Energy’s administrator. One possible program thrust might be to spur the use of remote thermostat technology, not only to improve energy efficiency in rural areas but, statewide. The PSC will issue a final order in December in which they will determine funding allocations based on cost effectiveness of CB&I’s proposals. To read more, see PSC and Midwest Energy News.