Hot off the press, errrrr, just received email:

Reminder, the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) is holding a public meeting tomorrow to gather input about the Public Utilities Commission’s public engagement processes. 

Other Ways to Comment

If you are unable to attend the meeting, you may send us written comments through our website.  Or, you may e-mail or Laura Schwartz, the project manager, at


We do not have a deadline for comments.  However, we will use the input we receive tomorrow to help us shape the evaluation, so the sooner the better.  Most of our evaluation activities will occur throughout the summer, and the final evaluation report is planned for release in early 2020.  You may send written comments about your experiences with the Public Utilities Commission’s public engagement processes throughout the evaluation, but we encourage you to send them early. 

Meeting Details

Date:  Friday, May 31, 2019

Time:  10:00-11:00 AM

Location:  State Office Building, Room 10, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155


Please let us know if you would like to share comments confidentially.  OLA has the authority to protect your identity through Minnesota Statutes 2018, 3.979, subd. 3(c).

Laura Schwartz | Program Evaluation Manager | Office of the Legislative Auditor | Program Evaluation Division

140 Centennial Building, 658 Cedar Street, St. Paul, MN 55155 | 651-296-1232 | Fax: 651-296-4712

  Office of the Legislative Auditor

April 11, 2019 was one of those days at the PSC of Wisconsin (Massive Agenda at PSC tomorrow, and we’re at the tail end – April 10, 2019). As expected it went poorly, and the Commission stamped all the dockets, the two Badger Hollow (9697-CE-100) and Two Creeks (9696-CE-100) solar siting dockets (CPCN granted despite no solar siting rules); the two Badger Hollow (9697-CE-101) and Two Creeks (9696-CE-101) transmission dockets, and the joint Two Creeks and Badger Hollow acquisition docket (5-BS-228), allowing MGE and WPSC to buy the approved project’s CPCN and to build them, the new “site and acquire” model. You can review these dockets at DOCKET SEARCH HERE and plug in any and all of the docket numbers above.

Today written orders came out on the Badger Hollow solar siting CPCN and the acquisition docket. The acquisition docket is a must read, methinks they doth protesteth too much!

And don’t forget this intense Order where the ALJ gave Quarles, Commission Chair Valcq’s former firm, what for about their unreasonable acts:

Quarles deserved every blistering word of that Order.

Methinks they doth protesteth too much!

Busy day at WI’s PSC!

May 28th, 2019

Today Rebuttal Testimony was due, and Alan Jewell, of Jewell Jinkins Intervenors was spending the day on the tractor in the mud, outstanding in his field. What a day…

Filed was the testimony and a Motion for Supplement to EIS:

How is it that PSC staff proposes a reasonable route that offers significant benefit, that of running on U.S. Hwy. 151 corridor rather than cross-country through farm fields, and the PSC (yes, same PSC!) doesn’t do more than talk about in the FEIS, doesn’t analyze the route so it could be considered in the mix?!?! Time to Supplement the EIS and get it in the record, DOH!

Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission works in strange ways… Today they denied the Petitions for Rehearing in the three Badger Hollow dockets. Our Petitions:

And though they were dated a week ago, they did not publish the Staff Memorandum for each until TODAY! That’s where the staff lays out the docket record (supposedly, but, well, read them) for the Commission:

Suffice it to say, this is SO depressing. This case, siting 300 MW of solar on “exclusive agricultural” land, without siting rules, and tossing out our request for rulemaking so they’d have something to go by, is absurd. This is a HUGE project covering 3,000 acres, tying up and restricting use of that land for 30-50 years, coming into a long-established agricultural community and forever changing land-use, viewshed, property values, with no consideration for the people living there, farming there, taking away their use and enjoyment of their property.

Can you spell N-U-I-S-A-N-C-E???

Another Xcel deal…

May 23rd, 2019

Monticello looms above the Metro…

Over the many years, there have been many “agreements,” and over the many years, time after time, people affected by these “agreements” have come to me for advice, to represent them, as they’re faced with consequences of these agreements. What agreements? The 1994 (Chapter 641) and 2003 (Chapter 11) Prairie Island bills, the
Merger Stipulation Dec 15 1999, the 2005 Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell (Chapter 97), the e21 Xcel Business Plan pieces dribbling into Omnibus bills 2015 (Chapter 1) and since. Now this:

The two page agreement made public is in that filing. Note the requirements related to this docket and the IRP, to support, to facilitate, to not object to Xcel’s plan. They agree to “supporting the Company’s request to recover the undepreciated balance of the King plant as a regulatory asset through 2037… of the Sherco 3 plant through 2035” [which was just rehabbed and we’re paying for that now]. They agree to Sherco 2 use “on a seasonal basis until its retirement in 2023;” 706.4 GWh of energy efficiency savings annually (not cumulative, methinks?); support of decoupling, support of acquisition of at least 3,00 MW of solar before end of 3020; and support acquisition by bidding process and proposals of build and own.

They’re using this to gain approval of Xcel’s acquisition of the Mankato Energy Center doing an end run around the Integrated Resource Plan, due to be filed any second now.

This first came to my attention when I saw Sierra Club request withdrawal of its comments in the 18-702 docket, regarding Xcel acquisition of the Mankato Energy Center (MEC) gas plant.

What? Withdraw Comments? That’s not possible. Once something is filed, it cannot be deleted. Hmmmmmm, what on earth is it that they want to withdraw? Here ya go, note these are the “public” comments, so some redactions:

Very well done Comments, eh? And note, they’re right in line with the Comments of the Office of the Attorney General – RUD, which concludes:

And in a shorter version, ILSR hits the highlights:

Looking at all of this, I had to weigh in. I’m so tired of these deals that are against the public interest, deals that inflict infrastructure and other harms on unsuspecting people. Unintended consequences? Intended consequences? Reckless actions not caring? It’s not that hard to envision the resulting problems.

Really, I am so tired of these deals that are not in the public interest, and are all about rolling over for Xcel, giving them what they want, and getting a significant kicker for all that “support.” That’s how it’s happened in the past (remember all that funding for pushing transmission and coal gasification?), and odds are it’s no different today.

Remember the signs in so many windows, on so many lawns? How things change…