Wisconsin Natural Gas Utilities Interested In CNG Fueling, But Can They Play?

State regulatory agency the Wisconsin Public Service Commission met late last week and deep-sixed Madison Gas and Electric Co.'s request to participate in the retail compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling arena, but the commission also appeared to lean toward allowing fellow utility Wisconsin Public Service Corp. (WPS) to affiliate with station developer Trillium CNG.

According to a report from the LaCrosse Tribune, two of the three commissioners are in favor of a partnership between WPS and Trillium CNG, a unit of Integrys Energy Group. They stopped short, however, of voicing support for WPS actually owning CNG stations in a retail environment – a position that is in line with the decision the commission rendered to Madison Gas and Electric Co.

The WPS/Trillium CNG discussion emerged in the context of a PSC hearing pursued by Kwik Trip, the convenience store chain that is in the midst of a significant deployment of CNG refueling facilities in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the Midwest.

Here's the rub: Kwik Trip is a customer of WPS, and the company opposes WPS using ‘utility revenue to subsidize a business that would be a direct competitor,’ the report states.

The commission plans on making a formal decision in the WPS matter on Nov. 16.

To read the Tribune's article, click HERE.

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