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Minnesota: A wholly owned subsidiary of Xcel Energy? #1 in a series.

Utilities do it everywhere….

It’s in the nature of electric utilities to accumulate too much economic and political power.  They provide essential services, they have almost unlimited resources compared to potential opponents, and they send hundreds of thousands of mailings to all the households in their service areas.  Most are corporations whose management works for stockholders, not customers, but they often get people to forget that.  They almost always have undue influence on the commissions that are supposed to regulate them.

But “NSP” is something special

The chokehold that Xcel Energy (Northern States Power Company) has on the state of Minnesota feels unusual even by utility standards.  The obedience that Xcel seems able to extract from most of our public and private institutions in Minnesota–including the media–is extraordinary, and ramping up very aggressively from this already excessive level. Continue Reading →

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Commentary: City must be diligent on solar

http://www.republican-eagle.com/letters/3804007-commentary-city-must-be-diligent-solar

By Alan Muller

 Red Wing
The Legislature and the Public Utilities Commission have focused attention on the relationships between Xcel Energy and solar garden developers, but given little attention to the relationships between developers and “subscribers.” What would the contracts look like? What would the actual cost be? What protections would subscribers and landowners have if a developer failed? What are the true benefits to subscribers and investors?

Continue Reading →

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[Wash Post] “Utilities wage campaign against rooftop solar”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/utilities-sensing-threat-put-squeeze-on-booming-solar-roof-industry/2015/03/07/2d916f88-c1c9-11e4-ad5c-3b8ce89f1b89_story.html

This, folks, is what is REALLY going on.  The good news is that the cost of solar has dropped and it’s really happening.  The bad news is that it will happen slowly and expensively if the utilities keep a chokehold on it.  Utilities have long since mastered the art of pretending to promote what they are actually blocking.  Perhaps no utility in the world is cleverer at this than Xcel Energy (Northern States Power Company).  The breadth and depth of NPS’s current efforts to gut the utility regulatory process and impose its will on Minnesota energy policy is breathtaking.  Stand by for more details on this.  And: expect some really horrible legislation to sneaked through the Minnesota Legislature.

Alan Muller Continue Reading →

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