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Update from CUB: Saving Money, Reducing Emissions and Defending Consumers

The new year has just started, and CUB has been busy. You can see our public events on our website, but there’s a lot more going on beyond what’s posted. We do quite a few a privately scheduled outreach events and are very active in various policy discussions in the state. Here’s a little insight into what’s been keeping us busy this month.

 

Outreach

In the past month, CUB been happy to help people sort through their options for renewable power, reduce wasted energy, and get caught up on their utility bills.

  • Social Service Organizations. We gave a presentation on how to reduce energy use and save money to participants of the Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners’ (IOCP) Project Success program in Plymouth, and participated in Semcac Community Action Agency’s Project Community Connect resource fair in Owatonna to help those struggling economically.
  • Workplaces. Thomson-Reuters in Eagan invited us to give a Lunch and Learn presentation to their employees. As a follow up, we’re back this week doing free one-on-one bill consultations.
  • Congregations. Woodlake Lutheran Church in Richfield invited us to talk after their Wednesday morning service about ways to save money and being green. Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light invited us to participate in a Solar House Party, educating people about solar energy, at the Grove United Methodist Church in Woodbury. We provided free utility bill consultations before the event and were one of the featured speakers, focusing on how to understand your utility bill and save energy.
  • Communities. In a webinar with local governments in Minnesota and Colorado participating in Xcel’s Partners in Energy program, CUB staff shared some of our techniques for engaging consumers about energy issues and helping them understand their bills.
  • Individuals.  We’re regularly working directly with consumers over the phone and via email helping them with various energy related questions and doing free bill consultations.  Topics we’ve helped with range from general bill consults to questions about personal solar to stray voltage concerns.

Don’t be shy about inviting us to an event! As you can see, we love variety and have a passion for helping people get clean energy, save money, and understand their options. To invite us to an event or to find out more, contact me at 651-300-4701 ext. 2 or carmenc@cubminnesota.org.

Policy

On the policy front, we’ve been just as busy. In the last month, CUB’s policy staff have:

  • Defended Minnesota Power ratepayers from a proposed rate hike.
  • Advocated for utility performance metrics before the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), so it’s easy to see data on how your utility is doing to reduce emissions, provide reliable service, and keep bills affordable.
  • Made the case to update Xcel’s electric grid and consumer options through PUC proceedings on grid modernization and a proposed time of use rate pilot. These projects have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase options for consumers to have their own solar power generation, and allow consumers to save money by using energy at times of day when it’s cheaper and cleaner.
  • Worked with our partners on opportunities for “strategic electrification,” when switching from using fossil fuels to electricity to power something both saves money and reduces pollution.

And more!

 

Become a member

If you appreciate this work, please consider becoming a member. Your support makes it possible for CUB to be an independent advocate for consumers. When we have a strong base of members, policymakers and utilities listen!

Author: Carmen Carruthers

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