On Tuesday, a bill will be heard in the state House of Representatives that would allow Xcel to build and own a new power plant, without having to go through a long-standing regulatory process that determines which new plants are in the consumers’ best interests.
This article from today’s Star Tribune explains the issue.
“This is certainly unusual, if not unprecedented,” said Annie Levenson-Falk, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group in utility matters. The Public Utilities Commission is the proper forum to make a decision on an individual power plant, and the bills essentially represent an end run, she said.
“Our concern is that Xcel would get permission to build the plant without going through the process of discovering whether it is the least-cost alternative,” Levenson-Falk said. “It’s the only way to make sure ratepayers aren’t getting charged too much money.”
In the end, Xcel customers are on the hook for all costs related to the plant (including the utility’s rate of return).
Tell your legislators
Tell your legislators this proposal puts the utility’s interest ahead of consumers.
- Find your state representative’s and senator’s contact information here.
- Call their office and send an email. A sample script that you can use is below.
- Call and email Governor Dayton at 800-657-3717, and this email form.
- Please let us know! We’re trying to count the number of messages going to policy makers. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Spread the word. Share CUB’s message on Facebook or Twitter, and ask your friends and family to take action, too.
Sample language for calls and emails:
For Representatives: I’m a constituent of yours from [YOUR TOWN HERE]. I am calling to ask you to oppose HF 113, which would let Xcel build a new power plant and charge customers without going through the proper regulation. Regulations are in place to protect customers of the monopoly utility. This is a bad idea for customers and a scary precedent for utility regulation.
For Senators: I’m a constituent of yours from [YOUR TOWN HERE]. I am calling to ask you to oppose SF 85, which would let Xcel build a new power plant and charge customers without going through the proper regulation. Regulations are in place to protect customers of the monopoly utility. This is a bad idea for customers and a scary precedent for utility regulation.