July 17th, 2016
There are a few more hearings for Xcel Energy’s rate case coming up:
Who cares about this rate case? Center for American Experiment does, but it’s a pretty myopic view, claiming that “Renewable Mandate Drives New Increase in Utility Bills.” Wish they’d read the testimony. Anyway, you all should care because this is a transmission driven rate case (see 2A2_MYRP_Chuck Burdick Testimony p. 28-30; 2C2_Xmsn_Benson) Greasing the skids was a consensus agreement reached by Xcel Energy on many issues, including Xcel’s proposal for a “Multi-Year Rate” plan prior to legislation being introduced to give Xcel what it wanted:
Note this snippet, where they’re whining that their grid is only 55% utilized:
(N) Identify and develop opportunities to reduce customer costs by improving overall grid eﬃciency. In Minnesota, the total electric system utilization is approximately 55 percent (average demand divided by peak demand), thus providing an opportunity to reduce system costs by better utilizing existing system assets (e.g., generation, wires, etc.). (e21_Initiative_Phase_I_Report, p. 11).
Well, DOH, we know that CapX 2020 wasn’t needed, we know the purpose was evident in the map starting at the Dakota coal fields, and putting it on our land wasn’t enough (for those who think it’s “for wind” no, it’s not, what a crock, you should have heard the testimony, seen the exhibits, the record demonstrates it isn’t, www.nocapx2020.info), now they want a whole new scheme for us to pay for their infrastructure to sell coal eastward?
For some reason, this docket disappeared… wonder who all on this consensus e21_Initiative_Phase_I_Report made that happen!?!
Does anyone else care that Matt Schuerger, most recent Dayton appointee to the Public Utilities Commission, was instrumental in working the e21 scam? Shouldn’t he have to recuse himself from any consideration of Xcel Energy’s e21 Initiative rate case?
And look at Bill Grant’s role in e21. He’s now Deputy Commissioner at Commerce in charge of energy issues, and was for 20+ years head of Midwest Izaak Walton League (working over then employee Beth Solholt and IWLA employee, now PUC Commissioner, Nancy Lange). Given Nancy Lange’s role in e21, she should also recuse herself.
And then there’s Mikey Bull’s role, as he recounts, and look who all is involved:
The e21 Initiative started as little more than a glimmer in my eye a couple of years ago, when I was a Manager of Policy and Strategy for Xcel Energy. I’d just come back from a meeting at the Edison Electric Institute about the impact of various dynamics – low load growth, increasing infrastructure investments, deeper penetrations of distributed resources – on the current utility business model. In general, rates were going to rise under the current model far faster as a result of those forces, and utility revenues become more uncertain.
Those dynamics were later chronicled in the Disruptive Challenges report issued by the Edison Electric Institute in January 2013. I realized that it was important for Xcel to try and get out ahead of the curve.
So I reached out from Xcel to Rolf Nordstrom at the Great Plains Institute and Nancy Lange then at CEE (now a Minnesota PUC commissioner), to start putting the e21 project together. Rolf and I worked to put a strong core project team together – CEE, Great Plains, Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, George Washington University Law School and consultant Matt Schuerger. We then compiled a terrific group of stakeholders who together represent much of what constitutes the public interest – low income customer advocates, small and large business representatives, utilities, environmental organization, cities and other public entities, and regulators. Beginning last February, this group of 25-30 stakeholders met monthly for day-long sessions that were wonderfully facilitated by Rolf and Jennifer Christenson, his colleague at GPI, toiling together deep in the weeds of utility regulation.
It was an honor to work with all of them, as we coalesced around the set of consensus recommendations detailed in the report.
Here’s the full recap:
The legislation, SF1735, well, check the links below, and you can see how that went down. I was there, seeing is believing. First it was introduced, but despite the full room of SILENT “usual suspects” who had acquiesced to e21, and only a couple of us objecting to the bill, Sen. John Marty pulled it from consideration, initially on the Senate Energy and Environment Committee same days as legislative extension of the Getty and Black Oak wind contracts (the project couldn’t do it before the PUC so they go to the legislature), stuck in a placeholder “e21 Lite” and then put it in later as part of the Energy Ominous Bill, SF 1431:
- the problems with SF 1735… March 18th, 2015
- Bill to extend Getty/Black Oak wind contracts? (e21 discussed at this Committee meeting) March 24th, 2015
- SF 1735 – SHAME on each Senator who voted for it (in the Energy Ominous Bill) May 5th, 2015
These issues were raised, e21 marches onward, and here we are, in a rate case.