Wisconsin Public Service Commission

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Wisconsin Public Service Commission
General information
Office Type:  Nonpartisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $24,483,300
Total Seats:  3
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   6 years
Authority:  Wisconsin Statutes, Chapter 15.79
Leadership:  Phil Montgomery
Selection Method:  Appointed by Governor
Other Wisconsin Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission is a three person state executive regulatory board in the Wisconsin state government. The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) is an independent regulatory agency dedicated to serving the public interest through the regulation of Wisconsin public utilities, including those that are municipally-owned.[1] The PSC works to ensure that, "in the absence of competition, adequate and reasonably priced service is provided to utility customers."[1]

Current officeholder

The current chair is Phil Montgomery. He serves alongside Michael Huebsch and Ellen Nowak.[2]

Chair Montgomery previously served six terms as an elected state representative from Green Bay. He was appointed PSC chair in March 2011 by Governor Scott Walker.[3] As a state representative from 1998-2010, Montgomery chaired the assembly committee on energy and utilities. He has also served on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Public Utility Institute. Montgomery holds a B.S. degree from the University of Houston and is a former systems engineer.[3]

Commissioner Ellen Nowak was appointed to the PSC by Gov. Walker in July 2011.[3] Prior to her appointment, she was the chief of staff to Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas. From 2002-2006 she was the legal counsel and then chief of staff to the Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly. She also worked as the deputy director of School Choice Wisconsin. From 1998-2002, Nowak practiced business litigation at Mallery & Zimmerman, SC in Milwaukee.[3] She holds a J.D. from Marquette University and a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.[3]

Commissioner Michael Huebsch was appointed to the commission by Governor Scott Walker in February 2015. Prior to his appointment, he served four years as Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary. His previous state government experience includes 16 years in the state legislature, repesenting Wisconsin's 94th Assembly District, in addition to serving on the La Crosse County Board.[4] Heubch attended Onalaska High School and Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.[5]


The creation of the Public Service Commission is designated in Wisconsin Statutes.

Wisconsin Statutes, Chapter 15.79, Public service commission; creation

There is created a public service commission. No member of the commission may have a financial interest in a railroad, water carrier, or public utility. If any member voluntarily becomes so interested, the member's office shall become vacant. If the member involuntarily becomes so interested, the member's office shall become vacant unless the member divests himself or herself of the interest within a reasonable time. Each commissioner shall hold office until a successor is appointed and qualified.


Qualifications of Public Service Commissioners are detailed within the Wisconsin State Statutes, Chapter 15.79 (2):

A commissioner of the public service commission may not do any of the following:

  • Be a candidate for public office in any election.
  • Directly or indirectly solicit or receive any contribution, as defined in s. 11.01 (6), for any political purpose, as defined in s. 11.01 (16), from any person within or outside of the state.
  • Act as an officer or manager for any candidate, political party, or committee organized to promote the candidacy of any person for any public office.
  • Serve on or under any committee of a political party.


Wisconsin state government organizational chart

Under Chapter 15.05 of the Wisconsin Statutes, the secretary is nominated by the governor, with the advice and consent of the state Senate, and serves as the pleasure of the governor.[6]

According to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission of Wisconsin website, "Commissioners are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the state Senate for staggered, six-year terms. One of these Commissioners is appointed chairperson by the Governor for a two-year term."[7]


Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches the constitutional or statutory text that details the process of filling vacancies for a state executive office. That information for the Wisconsin Public Service Commission has not yet been added. After extensive research we were unable to identify any relevant information on state official websites. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.


The Public Service Commission is responsible for the regulation of Wisconsin public utilities, including those that are municipally-owned. Typical types of utilities regulated include electric, natural gas, telephone, water, and combined water and sewer. More than 1,100 utilities are under the agency's jurisdiction. Most of these utilities must obtain PSC approval before: setting new Rates, issuing stocks or bonds, undertaking major construction projects such as power plants, water wells, and transmission lines.[1]


Click here to view a larger-scale image of the Wisconsin PSC Organizational Chart as of March 2013.

The Public Service Commissioners' Office is composed of the three Commissioners, Executive Assistant to the Chairperson, Executive Assistants to respective commissioners, the Secretary to the Commission, the Legislative Liaison, the Administrative Law Judge, Director of Governmental and Public Affairs and Public Information Officer as well as the Commissioners' support staff.[1]

The main divisions of the Public Service Commission are:[1]

  • Natural Gas & Energy Division
  • Telecommunications Division
  • Division of Water, Compliance, and Consumer Affairs (DWCCA)
  • Division of Administrative Services
  • The Office of General Counsel (OGC)

State budget

See also: Wisconsin state budget and finances

The budget for the Public Service Commission in Fiscal Year 2013 was $24,483,300.[8]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers


In 2014, each commissioner received a salary of $131,000, according to the Council of State Governments.[9]


In 2013, the Wisconsin Public Service Commissioners were each paid an estimated $127,500.[10]


In 2012, the Wisconsin Public Service Commissioners were each paid an estimated $124,000. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.

Historical officeholders

Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for chronological lists of historical officeholders. That information for the Wisconsin Public Service Commission has not yet been added because the information was unavailable on the relevant state official websites, or we are currently in the process of formatting the list for this office. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

State profile

Wisconsin's population in 2013 was 5,742,713.

Wisconsin's population in 2013 was 5,742,713 according to the United States Census Bureau. This estimate represented a 1 percent change from the bureau's 2010 estimate. The state's population per square mile was 105 in 2010, exceeding the national average of 87.4. Wisconsin experienced a 1.5 percent increase in total employment from 2011 to 2012 based on census data, falling below a 2.2 percent increase at the national level during the same period.[11]


Wisconsin fell below the national average for residents who attained at least bachelor's degrees based on census data from 2009 to 2013. The United States Census Bureau found that 26.8 percent of Wisconsin residents aged 25 years and older attained bachelor's degrees compared to 28.8 percent at the national level. The median household income in Wisconsin was $52,413 between 2009 and 2013 compared to a $53,046 national median income. Census information showed a 13.5 percent poverty rate in Wisconsin during the study period compared to a 14.5 percent national poverty rate.[11]

Racial Demographics, 2013[11]
Race Wisconsin (%) United States (%)
White 88.1 77.7
Black or African American 6.5 13.2
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.1 1.2
Asian 2.5 5.3
Two or More Races 1.7 2.4
Hispanic or Latino 6.3 17.1

Presidential Voting Pattern, 2000-2012[12][13]
Year Democratic vote in Wisconsin (%) Republican vote in Wisconsin (%) Democratic vote in U.S. (%) Republican vote in U.S. (%)
2012 52.8 45.9 51.1 47.2
2008 56.2 42.3 52.9 45.7
2004 49.7 49.3 48.3 50.7
2000 47.8 47.6 48.4 47.9

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin rather than a race. Citizens may report both their race and their place of origin, and as a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table may exceed 100 percent.[14][15]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term Wisconsin + Public + Service + Commission

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Wisconsin Public Service Commission News Feed

  • Loading...

Contact info

610 North Whitney Way
Madison, Wisconsin 53707-7854

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 7854
Madison, Wisconsin 53707-7854
Phone: (608)266-5481
Fax: (608)266-3957

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, "Organization Chart" accessed July 20, 2012
  2. Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, "PSC Commissioners," accessed March 23, 2015
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 PSC-WI "Commissioners" accessed July 20, 2012
  4. LaCrosse Tribune, "Huebsch: No bias on high-voltage project," March 11, 2015
  5. weau.com, "Neitzel succeeds Huebsch as WI Dept. of Administration Secretary," February 16, 2015
  6. Wisconsin Statutes, "Chapter 15: Structure of the Executive Branch -- Subchapter I: General Provisions, Section 15.05: Secretaries," accessed July 23, 2012
  7. PSC-WI "About Us" accessed July 25, 2012
  8. Wisconsin Department of Administration, "2013-15 Executive Budget - Public Service Commission," accessed April 3, 2013
  9. Council of State Governments, "SELECTED STATE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS: ANNUAL SALARIES," accessed December 8, 2014
  10. Council of State Governments, Table 4.11 Selected State Administrative Officials: Annual Salaries," accessed January 31, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 United States Census Bureau, "QuickFacts Beta," accessed March 24, 2015
  12. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Wisconsin Election Results," accessed March 24, 2015
  13. The American Presidency Project, "Presidential Elections Data," accessed March 24, 2015
  14. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  15. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent. This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.