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CUB’s 2021 year in review: fighting shutoffs and expensive fossil fuels

Published January 10, 2022

New Year’s marks the conclusion of CUB’s 5th year (what!?). Looking back, I am proud of what CUB has accomplished and very optimistic about the impact that we’ll have for clean energy and affordability in 2022.  

Here are some of the ways that CUB is making a difference.

  • Protecting Minnesotans from shutoffs: CUB was part of a coalition that won a moratorium on disconnections for customers of the state’s regulated utilities at the start of the pandemic. In 2021, we negotiated with the utilities to extend that moratorium through the end of April 2022 for anyone receiving energy assistance. Meanwhile, we have consulted one-on-one with hundreds of Minnesotans to help them avoid disconnection – or, if they were already shut off, to get their utility service restored. And we’re working with the utilities and state agencies to help get assistance to the many families that qualify.
  • Stopping Xcel Energy’s expensive fossil fuel investments: Despite its promise to go carbon-free, Xcel is planning to invest hundreds of millions of its customers’ money in new fossil fuel plants. CUB’s Consumers Plan presents a cleaner, less expensive, and less risky alternative for the Public Utilities Commission. CUB and allies already stopped the construction of one new natural gas plant, and we’re gearing up to demonstrate that Xcel can reliably meet customers needs without any others. 
  • Fighting excessive gas spending during the February freeze: Minnesotans should not have to cover all of the extra $600 million that natural gas companies paid for supply during the Winter Storm Uri, which froze much of the midwestern and southern United States. CUB is fighting back in a case before an administrative law judge. We are demonstrating that the utilities spent carelessly, expecting customers to foot the bill, and will ask the Public Utilities Commission to prevent utilities from charging customers for hundreds of millions of their spending during the storm.
  • Fighting rate hikes: Xcel Energy, CenterPoint Energy, and Minnesota Power have all asked to hike their rates – some by as much as 21%. These increases will be unaffordable for many consumers if they are allowed to go forward. CUB’s advocacy helped reduce interim rate increases (see more here and here). We are lining up expert witnesses and preparing to intervene on behalf of customers in the rate cases for Xcel electricity and Minnesota Power. 
  • Improving equity in energy conservation: With a cohort of Twin Cities community-based organizations and a research project for the State of Minnesota, CUB is improving energy efficiency programs to better serve renters; low-income consumers; and Minnesotans who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. From Red Lake to south Minneapolis, CUB partners with those most affected to reduce energy expenses, address persistent inequalities and restructure energy systems. 

Stand with CUB

If you support this work, please make a contribution today

While the utilities are able to employ multitudes of lobbyists to sit at the legislature and Public Utilities Commission, everyday Minnesotans can’t easily speak up in these forums. CUB is pushing for a rapid, cost-effective clean energy transition, and working to make sure that regular people reap the benefits. That is why CUB exists: to be a voice for regular people in energy decision making.

With your backing, CUB will be there to make sure Minnesotans are represented through whatever 2022 throws at us. 

Thank you for your support!

Author: Annie Levenson-Falk

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