Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

SF 1820

as introduced - 80th Legislature (1997 - 1998) Posted on 12/15/2009 12:00am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
  1.1                          A bill for an act
  1.2             relating to utilities; reorganizing and renaming the 
  1.3             legislative electric energy task force as the 
  1.4             legislative commission on utility competition; 
  1.5             establishing a process for the review of electric 
  1.6             industry restructuring; making technical change; 
  1.7             amending Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 216B.2424, 
  1.8             subdivision 1; proposing coding for new law in 
  1.9             Minnesota Statutes, chapter 216C; repealing Minnesota 
  1.10            Statutes 1996, section 216C.051. 
  1.12     Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 216B.2424, 
  1.13  subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
  1.14     Subdivision 1.  [FARM-GROWN CLOSED-LOOP BIOMASS.] (a) For 
  1.15  the purposes of this section,:  
  1.16     (1) "biomass" means herbaceous crops, trees, agricultural 
  1.17  waste, and aquatic plant matter used to generate electricity, 
  1.18  excluding mixed municipal solid waste, as defined in section 
  1.19  115A.03; and 
  1.20     (2) "farm-grown closed-loop biomass" means biomass, as 
  1.21  defined in section 216C.051, subdivision 7, that: 
  1.22     (1) (i) is intentionally cultivated, harvested, and 
  1.23  prepared for use, in whole or in part, as a fuel for the 
  1.24  generation of electricity; 
  1.25     (2) (ii) when combusted, releases an amount of carbon 
  1.26  dioxide that is less than or approximately equal to the carbon 
  1.27  dioxide absorbed by the biomass fuel during its growing cycle; 
  1.28  and 
  2.1      (3) (iii) is fired in a new or substantially retrofitted 
  2.2   electric generating facility that is: 
  2.3      (i) located within 400 miles of the site of the biomass 
  2.4   production; and is 
  2.5      (ii) designed to use biomass to meet at least 75 percent of 
  2.6   its fuel requirements. 
  2.7      (b) The legislature finds that the negative environmental 
  2.8   impacts within 400 miles of the facility resulting from 
  2.9   transporting and combusting the biomass are offset in that 
  2.10  region by the environmental benefits to air, soil, and water of 
  2.11  the biomass production. 
  2.12     (c) Among the biomass fuel sources that meet the 
  2.13  requirements of paragraph (a), clause (2), item (ii), are 
  2.14  poplar, aspen, willow, switch grass, sorghum, alfalfa, and 
  2.15  cultivated prairie grass. 
  2.16     Sec. 2.  [216C.052] [LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION ON UTILITY 
  2.17  COMPETITION.] 
  2.18     Subdivision 1.  [FINDINGS.] The legislature finds that: 
  2.19     (1) with the submission of the final report required under 
  2.20  section 216C.051, subdivision 5, the legislative electric energy 
  2.21  task force will complete its statutorily assigned duties; 
  2.22     (2) the electric industry is undergoing extraordinary and 
  2.23  fundamental changes; 
  2.24     (3) the underlying characteristic of these changes is the 
  2.25  call for effective and more pervasive competition by 
  2.26  policymakers, regulators, consumers, and suppliers; 
  2.27     (4) the increased reliance on competition in the electric 
  2.28  industry must be carefully managed in order to preserve 
  2.29  fundamental policy goals such as universal service, affordable 
  2.30  access, and environmental protection; and 
  2.31     (5) the expected benefits and potential risks of an 
  2.32  expanded role for competition in the electric industry are 
  2.33  sufficiently high to warrant additional and specific legislative 
  2.34  attention. 
  2.35     Subd. 2.  [ESTABLISHMENT; PURPOSE.] The legislative 
  2.36  electric energy task force is renamed the legislative commission 
  3.1   on utility competition, and is reorganized as herein provided.  
  3.2   The purpose of the commission is to provide legislative 
  3.3   oversight and leadership as policymakers transform the electric 
  3.4   industry from a comprehensively regulated industry to one in 
  3.5   which regulation is imposed only when competition cannot provide 
  3.6   sufficient economic discipline for these markets to operate 
  3.7   efficiently and effectively. 
  3.8      Subd. 3.  [MEMBERSHIP; STAFF.] (a) The commission consists 
  3.9   of: 
  3.10     (1) eight members of the house of representatives, 
  3.11  including the chair of the committee on regulated industries and 
  3.12  energy, and seven members to be appointed by the speaker of the 
  3.13  house; and 
  3.14     (2) eight members of the senate, including the chair of the 
  3.15  committee on jobs, energy and community development, and seven 
  3.16  members to be appointed by the subcommittee on committees. 
  3.17     (b) In recognition of the importance of issues relating to 
  3.18  environmental protection, renewable energy, and conservation in 
  3.19  the deliberation over competition in the electric industry, the 
  3.20  chairs of the house and senate environment and natural resource 
  3.21  policy committees, or their designees, are also members of the 
  3.22  legislative commission.  If a chair of one of these committees 
  3.23  chooses to name a designee, the chair shall designate a member 
  3.24  of the chair's legislative body that conforms to the 
  3.25  requirements of paragraph (c). 
  3.26     (c) The membership from each house shall include: 
  3.27     (1) four legislators who are from the minority caucus; 
  3.28     (2) four legislators who are members of the committee with 
  3.29  primary jurisdiction over utility regulation; 
  3.30     (3) one legislator who is a member of the committee with 
  3.31  primary jurisdiction over environmental protection; and 
  3.32     (4) one legislator who is a member of the committee with 
  3.33  primary jurisdiction over taxes and tax laws.  A single 
  3.34  legislator can count toward meeting more than one of the 
  3.35  requirements listed in clauses (1) to (4). 
  3.36     (d) Vacancies occurring on the commission do not affect the 
  4.1   authority of the remaining members of the commission to carry 
  4.2   out the functions of the commission.  Vacancies must be filled 
  4.3   in the same manner as the original positions. 
  4.4      (e) In even-numbered years, the chair of the house 
  4.5   committee on regulated industries and energy acts as chair of 
  4.6   the commission, and in odd-numbered years the chair of the 
  4.7   senate committee on jobs, energy and community development acts 
  4.8   as the commission chair. 
  4.9      (f) Within 45 days from the date of enactment, the 
  4.10  legislative coordinating commission shall employ a director and 
  4.11  a policy analyst selected by the legislative commission on 
  4.12  utility competition, and shall provide secretarial and other 
  4.13  administrative personnel as needed.  The commission may contract 
  4.14  for services to obtain necessary data and information, including 
  4.15  consulting services. 
  4.17  legislative commission may request information from any state 
  4.18  officer or agency in order to assist it in carrying out its 
  4.19  duties and the officer or agency is authorized and directed to 
  4.20  promptly furnish any data required, subject to applicable 
  4.21  requirements or restrictions imposed by chapter 13 and section 
  4.22  15.17. 
  4.23     Subd. 5.  [POWERS AND DUTIES.] (a) Each executive branch 
  4.24  agency, department, board, or commission relating to the 
  4.25  regulation or provision of utility services shall coordinate and 
  4.26  cooperate with the legislative commission. 
  4.27     (b) The legislative commission shall conduct public 
  4.28  hearings and otherwise secure data and expressions of opinion.  
  4.29  The legislative commission shall make recommendations as it 
  4.30  deems proper on issues involving competition for utility 
  4.31  services, to assist the legislature in formulating legislation.  
  4.32  Data or information compiled by the legislative commission must 
  4.33  be made available to any standing or interim committee of the 
  4.34  legislature upon request of the chair of the respective 
  4.35  committee. 
  4.36     Subd. 6.  [ASSESSMENT; APPROPRIATION.] On request by the 
  5.1   chair of the legislative commission on utility competition and 
  5.2   after approval of the legislative coordinating commission, the 
  5.3   commissioner of the department of public service shall assess 
  5.4   from public utilities, as defined in section 216B.02, 
  5.5   subdivision 4, and from cooperative and municipal electric 
  5.6   utilities, each utility's proportionate share of the 
  5.7   commission's expenses.  These assessments are in addition to 
  5.8   assessments made under section 216B.62.  Amounts assessed under 
  5.9   this section are appropriated to the director of the legislative 
  5.10  coordinating commission for those purposes, and are available 
  5.11  until spent. 
  5.12     Subd. 7.  [SUBPOENA POWER.] The legislative commission on 
  5.13  utility competition may issue a subpoena under section 3.153 to 
  5.14  any person for production of information held by that person 
  5.15  that is relevant to the work of the commission. 
  5.16     Subd. 8.  [EXPIRATION.] The legislative commission on 
  5.17  utility competition expires June 30, 2000, but may be 
  5.18  reauthorized. 
  5.20     Subdivision 1.  [DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC 
  5.21  SERVICE.] (a) The commissioner of the department of public 
  5.22  service shall conduct technical analyses of electric industry 
  5.23  restructuring issues as directed by the legislative commission 
  5.24  on utility competition. 
  5.25     (b) The commissioner shall develop and propose legislation 
  5.26  regarding electric industry restructuring to the legislative 
  5.27  commission on utility competition and the public utilities 
  5.28  commission's working group formed under subdivision 2 by 
  5.29  December 1, 1997. 
  5.31  The chair of the public utilities commission shall convene a 
  5.32  working group of no more than 30 industry participants, 
  5.33  including consumers, suppliers, marketers, aggregators, 
  5.34  regulators, environmentalists, representatives of small and 
  5.35  large businesses, consumer advocates, and low-income residential 
  5.36  advocates.  The working group shall provide analysis, 
  6.1   commentary, and opinion to the public utilities commission and 
  6.2   the legislative commission on utility competition on issues 
  6.3   related to electric industry restructuring and, by January 15, 
  6.4   1998, on the legislation proposed by the commissioner of public 
  6.5   service under subdivision 1. 
  6.6      (b) The chair of the public utilities commission shall also 
  6.7   convene a steering committee of eight to ten members from among 
  6.8   the membership of the working group.  The membership of the 
  6.9   steering committee must reflect the broad range of interests 
  6.10  represented on the working group, to the extent feasible.  The 
  6.11  steering committee shall act as a liaison between the working 
  6.12  group, the legislative commission, and the department of public 
  6.13  service. 
  6.14     (c) The chair of the public utilities commission, the 
  6.15  commissioner of the department of public service, and the 
  6.16  attorney general, or their designees, are members of both the 
  6.17  working group and the steering committee. 
  6.19  COMPETITION.] (a) The legislative commission on utility 
  6.20  competition shall convene joint hearings of the legislative 
  6.21  commission and the steering committee of the public utilities 
  6.22  commission's working group, to review, critique, and consider 
  6.23  presentations on issues relating to electric industry 
  6.24  restructuring by the department of public service and other 
  6.25  experts.  In addition to hosting these joint hearings, the 
  6.26  legislative commission shall conduct its own inquiry into 
  6.27  restructuring the electric industry.  The legislative commission 
  6.28  shall undertake these activities and contract with experts as 
  6.29  the legislative commission deems necessary to develop a thorough 
  6.30  understanding of the issues raised in the restructuring debate.  
  6.31     (b) The legislative commission shall present 
  6.32  recommendations to the legislature regarding whether and how to 
  6.33  proceed in restructuring the electric industry by February 15, 
  6.34  1998. 
  6.35     Sec. 4.  [REPEALER.] 
  6.36     Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 216C.051, is repealed. 
  7.1      Sec. 5.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
  7.2      Sections 1 to 4 are effective the day following final 
  7.3   enactment.