At long last, the final round of Comments on the 5+ year long rulemaking have been filed.  A five year long process to enact the changes consistent with legislation passed in 2005, 12 years ago.  WHAT!?!?!  Yes, that’s how long it’s taken.  These are rules based on the Minnesota statutes for Certificate of Need (Minn. Stat. 216B.243) and the “Power Plant Siting Act” (Minn. Stat. Ch. 216E), which is transmission routing and power plant siting.

Here are the Reply Comments, and note there are very few:

Public Intervenors – No CapX 2020, U-CAN, North Route Group & Goodhue Wind Truth – FINAL_May 31 2017

McNamasra GWT Reply_20175-132415-01

Commerce EERA Reply_20175-132345-01

ITC Midwest_Reply_20175-132421-02

OtterTail Power_Reply_20175-132275-01

Xcel Energy_Reply_20175-132417-01

Next step — on the agenda at a future Public Utilities Commission meeting, where they’ll discuss changes, hopefully we’ll have oral argument of the parties and comments from the public, and then the rules are formally released to the public for public comment, a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, and then back to the Commission for approval.  Probably it will be August… given the public comment period and hearing, this will be at least a SIX YEAR PROCESS!


Yeah, he’s got pie on his face, all right… or is it egg…

Alan would put the headline as “PUC HELPS BILL GATES BUILD COAL PLANTS!”

Anyway, the meeting is Tuesday, TOMORROW… and, well, not Bill Gates directly, but his Cascade Investments.   They’re on the PUC agenda tomorrow.   Cascade Investments is providing the $$$ to Otter Tail Power build the Big Stone II coal plant, and without Cascade Investments, the Big Stone II coal plant doesn’t get built.

Here’s the Comment that I just sent in:

Overland Comment on Standstill Agmt – 09-656

Otter Tail Power and Cascade Investments are on the agenda at the PUC, item #5, where they’re asking for approval of a “Standstill Agreement” that would allow them to operate in a way prohibited by state law:


PUC Staff Briefing Papers – 8/25/09

Cascade Investments (Bill Gates) is a major investor in Otter Tail Power.  You’d think he’d get that building coal plants is not a good investment these days, but nooooooo, there he goes!  Over 10% of Otter Tail Power and wanting more, apparently!  But wait, Minnesota law limits how investors with over 10% interest and corporations can act:

Minn. Stat. 302A.673

And here’s where it gets interesting.  OES Staff asked what they’re contemplating that would not be possible under Minn. Stat. 302A.673, and they say “business loans.”  But as staff noted, business loans are fine, that’s not an issue, it’s more stock that is an issue!  Yet despite this non-responsive response, Staff recommends the PUC approve OTP’s and Cascade’s agreement.  SAY WHAT??

Otter Tail Power Filing & Standstill Agreement

OES Comment 1

Otter Tail Power Reply

OES Comment 2

PUC Meeting Notice

So tell me, why should OTP get special treatment?  This was an issue that the OES Staff noted was not common, had not even been reviewed before!!!

1)NOTICE SUCKED – look at the service list for OTP’s filing, and PUC Notice

2) OTP is asking for special treatment

3) OES asked questions about why and OTP did not answer them satisfactorily

4)What’s the impact on ratepayers?  On shareholders? (not that PUC can, or should, have any concern about that!)

5) OTP has burden

6) OTP  hasn’t met it

7) Petition should be denied

Makes sense to me…