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…