Well, I’ve been trying to warn about this. On March 9th I wrote:
“The breadth and depth of NSP’s [Xcel’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.”
The really horrible bills are here:
S.F. 1735, authored by, of all people, John Marty, would essentially replace “rate cases,” in which utilities are required to prove up their need for higher rates, with utility “business plans” and informal “stakeholder” proceedings controlled by the utilities themselves. (Xcel Energy hasn’t gotten all it asked for in recent rate cases and this is the suspected driver for these bills.)
H.F. 1315, the House companion authored by Garafalo, Hortman, and others, would do similar mischief.
These bills also have provisions allowing big industrial customers to get cheaper power and shift costs onto residential and small business customers.
S.F. 1431, authored again, by of all people, John Marty, would increase incentives for incinerating trees and garbage in the name of “clean energy.”
Now, if you think you have too much disposable income, while utility executives are starving, and you want be forced to pay higher bills for dirtier air, and pay for utility market opportunities, these are your bills.
Otherwise, get on the horn and object NOW. 1431 and 1735 are being heard in the Senate Environment and Energy Committee THIS THURSDAY, March beginning at noon (Capital, room 107) and continuing at 4:00 (Capital, room 112). These bills are likely not to come up until the afternoon.
The way the Legislature is operating this session, committees are commonly not actually voting on bills, but rather “holding them over” for “”possible inclusion” in an omnibus bill. This seems to further limit real possibilities for public input.
These bills are being sneaked in with little public discussion/media coverage. Xcel (primarily) has been laying the groundwork for quite a while, including the bogus “e-21” “stakeholder process” and working through seemingly-independent NGOs like the “Citizens League.” Not too many orgs can stand up to what Xcel Energy can offer….
We will offer up a more detailed critique later, but the key point now is that only a public outcry can stop these bills. That means YOU, NOW.
What to do:
Call YOUR Senator and Representative with a clear message of “Kill these three bills.”
Call Senator John Marty, 651-296-5645. Email contact form (real email not published)
Call/email all the members of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee:
“Kill these three bills and their House counterparts.”
Call/email Representative Melissa Hortman with the same message: 651-296-4280, firstname.lastname@example.org
Call/email Representative Pat Garafolo with the same message: 651-296-1069, email@example.com. Garafolo chairs the House “Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance” Committee.
Marty and Garafolo also co-chair the Legislative Energy Commission, a key pipeline for special interest control of Minnesota Energy policy. (Members of the public are not ordinarily allowed to speak at LEC meetings.)
There is a lot at stake, both in clean air, and in dollars, billions of them.