MGE Previews Community Conversation Plans

Chief Executive Gary Wolter says goal is to work with customers and communities to help company become the "Utility of the Future."

Madison, Wis., April 30, 2015—Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary Wolter announced today that the company's Community Energy Conversations would begin in mid-June.

"When we first started talking about launching another Community Energy Conversation initiative, we looked at the issues that had to be discussed and knew that we wanted to ask our customers, communities and stakeholders to help MGE become the utility of the future," Wolter said, adding "Now, after significant planning, and discussions inside and outside the company, we along with our consultant Justice & Sustainability Associates (JSA), continue to finalize and prepare to start the process."

JSA CEO Don Edwards commented, "My associates and I have met with leaders and members of a number of community organizations and associations about making sure that people's ideas, concerns and issues get aired fully throughout this process. The meeting process we are about to launch will allow us and the people of Madison to get that job done. We're eager to bring the various stakeholders to the table to begin the dialogue."

Asked what the process would look like, Edwards said the process is likely to evolve based on ongoing public input and feedback. Currently, the plan envisions three phases. The first phase of the conversations, scheduled to begin in June, will include a number of small group meetings and discussions. The second phase will have fewer but larger meetings during which people will be encouraged to talk about, and seek agreement on, how to balance goals and priorities. The final phase will involve many people and groups in an effort to help MGE define direction and priorities to serve this community going forward as a "utility of the future." MGE will share updates online at mge.com and through social media.

Both Wolter and Edwards expect the conversations to provide customers and stakeholders with opportunities to share their views on the important questions emerging in our world of changing energy technology including:

  • What products and services will customers want from MGE to improve their lives and businesses, help them control their energy use and costs, and encourage efficiency and conservation?;
  • How will MGE change and evolve as it continues to provide power efficiently, reliably, responsibly and cost-effectively in the future?;
  • How does MGE transition to a cleaner energy supply?; and
  • How does MGE fully integrate the growing sector of distributed generation technologies such as solar energy?

MGE already is collaborating with others to begin identifying options to address these issues. We have set up a Technical Work Group and are working with the Citizens Utility Board, Clean Wisconsin and the Great Plains Institute.

Our next step, through the Community Energy Conversations, is to engage more broadly and work together with customers to address these important issues that affect their communities and their lives.

"MGE wants to embrace the future in the way that best serves our customers, communities and stakeholders," Wolter said. "Our previous Community Energy Conversations more than 10 years ago helped us create our Energy 2015 Plan. Under Energy 2015, we discontinued coal use at our Blount Generating Station and grew our wind capacity from 11 to 137 megawatts. Feedback from our upcoming round of Community Energy Conversations will help inform our next long-term plan. Through our outreach effort, we will work with our diverse customer base and the community to determine the best solutions for our collective energy future. MGE is committed to providing everyone access to information throughout the process and offering multiple vehicles for interaction and feedback. We welcome and encourage our customers' involvement in this extensive effort."

About MGE

MGE generates and distributes electricity to 143,000 customers in Dane County, Wis., and purchases and distributes natural gas to 149,000 customers in seven south-central and western Wisconsin counties. MGE's parent company is MGE Energy, Inc. (Nasdaq: MGEE). The company's roots in the Madison area date back more than 150 years.