Letter to the Editor: Bill Baudhuin’s Legacy

I read with sadness the recent announcement of Bill Baudhuin’s death. When Bill was the general manager of Sturgeon Bay Utilities (SBU) in the 1970s and ’80s, he was a tireless leader of Wisconsin’s 80-plus municipal electric utilities. 

Bill led the group of 10 wholesale electric customers of Wisconsin Public Service Company that fought for and won lower rates for Sturgeon Bay before the Federal Power Commission in numerous rate cases. He was also a leader of the small group of managers that fought for passage of the 1977 statute that allowed the formation of WPPI Energy by Sturgeon Bay and other municipal utilities in 1981 in order to obtain power-supply independence. 

Bill spent countless hours traveling the state to talk with city councils and village boards about the benefits of public power and joint action. His work and that of others has enabled Sturgeon Bay to own its own generation and transmission through the creation of WPPI. Over time, WPPI has grown from 22 members to 51 members located in three states. Together with other WPPI members, SBU today is committed to a clean, low-carbon future and excellent customer service.

Bill served on the WPPI board of directors and executive committee for many years – a Sturgeon Bay leadership tradition that’s carried on by SBU’s current general manager, Jim Stawicki, now WPPI’s chair. Bill was dedicated to the well-being of his community, and his tireless efforts, perhaps not known by many today, continue to benefit his community and the state.

Roy Thilly

Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin