Author Archives: Brian Edstrom

CUB files comments on Minnesota Power’s risky power plant investment

Published May 24, 2022 Minnesota Power, the electric utility serving much of northeastern Minnesota, filed its latest Integrated Resource Plan (“IRP”) in February 2021. An IRP is a roadmap that public utilities use to analyze and model various strategies for meeting electricity demand over the next 15-year time horizon. Ideally, the IRP planning process allows utilities to…

CUB fighting Minnesota Power’s proposed 18% rate hike

Published April 21, 2022 In November 2021, Minnesota Power filed documents with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (the PUC) seeking to raise its rates by about 18 percent. If approved, electricity rates would go up by about $15 per month for a typical household in Minnesota Power’s service territory.  CUB is fighting back. Background This…

Is CenterPoint “having its cake and eating it too” when recovering Winter Storm Uri costs from Minnesotans?

Published March 1, 2022 A report (pdf) issued by CUB today raises questions about Texas-based CenterPoint Energy’s financial interest in another Texas company that made billions during the February 2021 Winter Storm Uri. The report comes while CenterPoint’s Minnesota-based subsidiary is attempting to pass on approximately $466 million in costs associated with last year’s storm…

Xcel pilot will provide training, career opportunities for women, veterans, BIPOC Minnesotans

Published January 28, 2022 We previously wrote about CUB’s support for an Xcel workforce development pilot program. This blog post provides an update on this program, which the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) recently approved. In May of 2020, the PUC opened a docket (the “Economic Recovery” docket) with the goal of identifying possible utility investments that…

CUB joins Xcel proposal seeking to protect renters

Published November 24, 2021 In recent months, CUB has been hearing from consumers (and other consumer advocates) about a new problem affecting some Minnesota renters. Some landlords of multi-unit residences are taking over their tenants’ utility accounts by putting the accounts in the landlord’s name, while continuing to pass utility costs on to the tenants….

CUB fighting rate hike for February 2021 winter storm costs

Published November 2, 2021 Many Minnesotans have recently seen, or will soon see, their natural gas bills dramatically increase. This presents a huge concern for many households – particularly those already struggling to make ends meet in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic.   There are a few reasons for these bill increases.  First, natural…

IRPs, IDPs, and rate cases — Oh my!

Published September 8, 2021 It will be a busy fall at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. This blog post provides a brief overview of the policy and regulatory work CUB expects to be involved in over the next several months. There are already numerous complex dockets underway before the Commission, including several unique dockets arising…

Commission exempts low-income Minnesotans from natural gas price spike surcharges

Published August 11, 2021 Over President’s Day Weekend 2021, four of Minnesota’s natural gas utilities (CenterPoint, Xcel, MERC, and Great Plains) collectively incurred hundreds of millions of dollars in extraordinary costs providing natural gas to their Minnesota customers. Normally, extraordinary costs (those that exceed what utilities had budgeted for when setting rates) are passed through…