Capitol Buzz
October 6, 2020
PSC Extends Shut-off Moratorium to November until Annual Winter Moratorium takes Effect
On September 17, the Public Service Commission (PSC) voted 2-1 to again extend the utility shut-off moratorium until November 1, 2020. Starting on November 1, 2020, the annual winter moratorium for gas and electric customers will go into effect. The annual winter moratorium runs until April 15, 2021.

Since the annual winter moratorium does not cover municipal water utilities, the Commissioners may revisit the moratorium pertaining to water at a later meeting. In the meantime, the PSC is continuing its data collection efforts (See below) requiring utilities submit disconnection plans and other customer data including specifics on disconnection notices, arrears balances and deferred payment agreements.

In July, the Commission extended the moratorium for only residential customers (which previously was set to expire on July 25) until September 1. The moratorium was originally implemented by Gov. Evers in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and high unemployment rates and originally applied to all customer classes, including commercial and industrial.

According to a July PSC survey of roughly 200 utilities, approximately one-third or 1.4 million residential households, are behind on their utility bills.
PSC Requiring Utilities to Complete Accounting Reports and other COVID-19 Related Surveys this Month
The Public Service Commission (PSC) is requiring public utilities to complete the following COVID-19 related surveys/reports in October:

  • Required reporting on credit and collections protocols, including information on disconnection notices, arrears balances and customers in arrears, and deferred payment agreements (DPAs). All utilities are required to complete this survey. To access the survey click here: - 5-UI-120 Required Report – September Link. Completion deadline is October 9. 

  • 5-UI-120 Disconnection plans: Water utilities who plan to disconnect residential customers for non-payment must file a disconnection plan with the Commission by October 9, 2020. Only Utilities That Plan to Disconnect After Nov. 1 Must File. - 5-UI-120 Disconnection Plan – November Link. Completion deadline is October 9. 

  • Required 5-AF-105 COVID-19 Accounting Report – July-September, 2020 survey. On May 14, 2020, the Commission defined the COVID-19-related expenses, foregone revenue, and carrying costs that are eligible for deferral and ordered utilities to report on these costs (PSC REF#: 389500). The Commission directed utilities to provide total deferral reporting by FERC or USOA account. On August 28, 2020, the Commission required such reporting on a quarterly basis for all utilities. (PSC REF#: 396068.) Further, the Commission requires that all utilities submit reporting, including utilities that have no COVID-19-related expenses to report. Commission staff are now providing the online Required 5-AF-105 COVID-19 Accounting Report – July-September, 2020 survey to all utilities for the following period: July 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020. To access the accounting report survey, click the link below: Completion deadline is October 15.
Court Rules Absentee Ballots Counted if Received Within Six Days After Nov. Election 
Last week, a federal appeals court upheld a previous ruling allowing absentee ballots for the November 3 election in Wisconsin to be counted as long as they are postmarked by election day on Nov. 3 and received by the municipal clerk's office within six days after the Nov. 3 election (Nov. 9). 
Normally, absentee ballots in Wisconsin are due when the polls close at 8 p.m.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission encourages people who want to vote via absentee ballot to not delay in returning their ballots.
Before the pandemic, only about 6 percent of Wisconsin voters cast an absentee ballot by mail. For the April 2020 spring election that jumped to 60 percent, when 1.1 million of the 1.55 million votes were absentee by mail. All the statistics are not in yet, but for the August 11, 2020, Partisan Primary, approximately 82 percent of the 867,000 votes cast were absentee, either by mail or in the clerk's office. 
So far, for the November 3 General Election in Wisconsin, more than 1.16 million voters have requested an absentee ballot.
DOR Posts 2021 Video Service Provider Aid Amounts
Last Friday, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) posted on its website the estimated amount of each eligible community’s 2021 Video Service Provider Aid payment. This aid is based on the amounts community's reported to DOR on Form SL-310: Video Service Provider Report.
  • Video service provider aid is distributed to each municipality imposing the video service (cable) provider fee under sec. 66.0420(7), Wis. Stats.
  • The aid equals 1.0 percent of the gross receipts used to calculate the actual 2019 fee revenues received by the municipality (sec. 79.097(1)(b), Wis. Stats.)
  • The state will distribute this aid to each municipality on or before July 26, 2021 (sec. 79.097(3)(b), Wis. Stats.)
  • Starting on January 1, 2021, the video service fee (percentage) imposed by a municipality must equal the percentage applied on December 31, 2018 less 1.0 percent (sec. 66.0420(7)(b)2m., Wis. Stats.)
If you have questions, contact DOR staff at