Since late January, Bluestem has chronicled the problems with HF234 in posts like Are King Coal's foxes to guard the co-op? HF234 would leave rural utility customers on defense and From our friends at CURE: tell Governor Mark Dayton: veto bill, protect solar in Minnesota.
We are pleased as are so many friends that the governor chose to veto the bill today. Here's his letter to legislative leaders:
And here are a sampling of tweets praising the Governor:
Update (March 20): At the Star Tribune, Karen Zamora reports in Gov. Dayton vetoes bill diminishing PUC oversight:
Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill Monday that would remove state regulators' authority to settle certain electric utility disputes.
In February, Dayton indicated he could veto bills perceived as weakening the authority of the state Public Utilities Commission — a group appointed by the governor that regulates the state's electricity, gas and telephone companies. . . .
A common complaint handled by the PUC concerns additional fees some co-op customers are charged after installing solar panels or wind generators.
These customers say the grid connection fees — ranging from $7 to $83 — were a disincentive to install sources of renewable energy. The co-ops say the fees are needed to cover their fixed costs.
The legislation would have sent these disputes to a third-party mediator, not the PUC. But "it does not provide any guidance on how this mediation would work," Dayton said in his letter.
"All Minnesota customers — from family farmers to large businesses — should be able to invest in technology to produce clean and efficient energy with the assurance that the PUC is available to provide consumer protection," the governor said.
Check out the entire article at the Strib.
Cartoon: Ken Avidor for Bluestem Prairie. Some rural co-op customers (they're called "members," but if a person in the co-op's service area wants to get on the electrical grid, there's no alternative suppler) told Bluestem that they felt their rural electrical co-ops were committed to long-term contracts for coal-produced energy, not solar energy produced by members.
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