CUB’s Charlie Higley goes to ATC

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Wisconsin — posted by admin on October 24, 2013 @ 11:13 am


A press release and a little birdie and a big birdie confirm that Charlie Higley has left CUB and has gone to ATC, yes, AMERICAN TRANSMISSION COMPANY.

The good news is that apparently it is NOT a policy position.  That matters.  BUT that he’s moving over to a transmission company that is a frequent applicant at the Wisconsin Public Service Commission is not good, and CUB is a constant recipient of PSC Intervenor Compensation, it’s probably their major income source (? will check this out).  This is his first stop in the doorway at ATC.  Let’s see what happens.  BUT, again, BUT, this is a little too cozy.  They’ll be paying him a good salary, benefits, and I can’t see them hiring someone with his experience/history if he were, say, from Portland, OR or Enid, Oklahoma.  Higley is a known quantity to ATC on a personal level.  CUB, as an organization, and ATC also have a longstanding relationship, though too, not nearly as challenging and adversarial as I’d like to see, one look at the RE-AMP transmission agenda.  CUB’s involvement in RE-AMP shows the buy-in to acquiescence at best, promotion at worst, of the RE-AMP transmission agenda, evidenced by a lack of material and effective opposition to transmission.  I view this hire as formalizing that relationship between Higley personally and ATC, and it remains to be seen whether this has an impact on CUB organizationally.

Again, it’s my understanding that this is NOT a policy position, and as such, it’s not as egregious as Mikey Bull’s traipsing from House Research, to EQB/Commerce, to officing under Gov. Pawlenty’s roof, to Wind on the Wires, to Xcel Energy (OMD!  Manager of Policy and Strategy!?!), and to Center for Energy and Environment.

But folks, it’s hard to put a positive spin on this… Charlie Higley is now working for ATC.

p.s.  Hey, Charlie, do you remember that day we met, it was in Belleville, home of an engineer, whose name I can’t recall… that was back when you had a 66 Ford, pre BMW days… who’da thought you’d end up at ATC…

Citizens Utility Board Leadership Changes

October 24, 2013

MADISON – The Citizens Utility Board (CUB), Wisconsin’s utility watchdog and consumer advocate, announced today that Charlie Higley has stepped down after 10 years as executive director.

“Charlie Higley has done a superb job during his tenure at CUB,” said CUB President Russell Wallace.  “Over Charlie’s tenure, CUB’s advocacy on behalf of citizens and small businesses before the Public Service Commission helped bring about decisions that saved Wisconsin customers over two billion dollars on their utility bills.”

“I am proud of my service to Wisconsin’s ratepayers over the past decade,” said Higley.  “CUB’s advocacy on behalf of residential and small business utility customers before the Public Service Commission and Wisconsin Legislature has proven over and over again to be a vital service in shaping more equitable rates and policies.”

Kira Loehr has been appointed as CUB’s acting executive director. Kira is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison law school.  She serves as Chair of the Energy and Telecommunications Section of the Wisconsin State Bar.  Kira has represented CUB before the Public Service Commission since 2005. Kira became CUB’s general counsel in 2010 and will continue in that capacity.



  1. Carol:

    You are correct in that my new job with ATC does not involve policy.

    My new position is “system control operator-in-training,” and I will learn how to monitor and operate the transmission system, helping to keep the lights on.

    I won’t have any involvement with transmission planning, regulatory approvals, public relations, lobbying, or other “policy” related responsibilities.

    Though I do have friends at ATC (and at all the other Wisconsin utilities), I had never met the people that interviewed and hired me, as they work in operations, far from the policy world I was immersed in at CUB.

    Yes, I do remember meeting you all those years ago, at David Blecker’s house. You have a great memory: I had a ’67 Galaxie 500 at the time. I do have a 1993 BMW 325is that I bought from my bother-in-law in 2001; it has over 330,000 miles!

    Comment by Charlie Higley — October 25, 2013 @ 4:57 am

  2. Ooops, 67. I had a 64 Galaxie, my first car, bought for $144 in 1973, maybe late 1972!

    Comment by admin — October 25, 2013 @ 8:51 am

  3. Niiiice. I remember some amount of suspicion in CETF mtg.

    Comment by Toni Yeske — October 25, 2013 @ 9:11 am

Copy link for RSS feed for comments on this post or for TrackBack URI

Leave a comment



image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace