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SF 1820

2nd Engrossment - 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 energy; providing for customer-specific 
  1.3             terms in electric utility service contracts; modifying 
  1.4             provisions relating to the legislative electric energy 
  1.5             task force; requiring study on restructuring the 
  1.6             electric industry; allowing exception to prohibition 
  1.7             on natural gas outdoor lighting; exempting property 
  1.8             that produces hydroelectric or hydromechanical power 
  1.9             on federal land from property taxation; requiring 
  1.10            reports on mercury emissions resulting from generation 
  1.11            of electricity; amending Minnesota Statutes 1996, 
  1.12            sections 216B.05; 216B.162, subdivisions 1, 4, and by 
  1.13            adding subdivisions; 216C.051, subdivisions 2 and 6; 
  1.14            216C.19, subdivision 5; 272.02, subdivision 1; and 
  1.15            295.44, subdivision 1; proposing coding for new law in 
  1.16            Minnesota Statutes, chapter 116. 
  1.18                             ARTICLE 1
  1.19     Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 216B.05, is 
  1.20  amended to read: 
  1.22     Subdivision 1.  [SCHEDULES PUBLIC RATE FILINGS.] Every 
  1.23  public utility shall file with the commission schedules showing 
  1.24  all rates, tolls, tariffs and charges which it has established 
  1.25  and which are in force at the time for any service performed by 
  1.26  it within the state, or for any service in connection therewith 
  1.27  or performed by any public utility controlled or operated by it. 
  1.29  AGREEMENTS FILINGS.] Every public utility shall file with and as 
  1.30  a part of the schedule filings under subdivision 1, all rules 
  1.31  that, in the judgment of the commission, in any manner affect 
  2.1   the service or product, or the rates charged or to be charged 
  2.2   for any service or product, as well as any contracts, agreements 
  2.3   or arrangements relating to the service or product or the rates 
  2.4   to be charged for any service or product to which the schedule 
  2.5   is applicable as the commission may by general or special order 
  2.6   direct; provided that contracts and agreements for electric 
  2.7   service must be filed as required by subdivision 2a of this 
  2.8   section.  
  2.9      Subd. 2a.  [ELECTRIC SERVICE CONTRACTS.] A contract for 
  2.10  electric service entered into between a public utility and one 
  2.11  of its customers, in which the public utility and the customer 
  2.12  agree to customer-specific rates, terms, or service conditions 
  2.13  not already contained in the approved schedules, tariffs, or 
  2.14  rules of the utility, must be filed for approval by the 
  2.15  commission pursuant to the commission's rules of practice.  
  2.16  Contracts between public utilities and customers that are 
  2.17  necessitated by specific statutes in this chapter must be filed 
  2.18  for approval under those statutes and any rules adopted by the 
  2.19  commission pursuant to those statutes. 
  2.20     Subd. 3.  [PUBLIC INSPECTION.] Every public utility shall 
  2.21  keep copies of the schedules filings under subdivisions 1, 2, 
  2.22  and 2a open to public inspection under rules as the commission 
  2.23  may prescribe.  
  2.24     Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 216B.162, 
  2.25  subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
  2.26     Subdivision 1.  [DEFINITIONS.] (a) The terms used in this 
  2.27  section have the meanings given them in this subdivision. 
  2.28     (b) "Effective competition" means a market situation in 
  2.29  which an electric utility serves a customer that: 
  2.30     (1) is located within the electric utility's assigned 
  2.31  service area determined under section 216B.39; and 
  2.32     (2) has the ability to obtain its energy requirements from 
  2.33  an energy supplier that is not regulated by the commission under 
  2.34  section 216B.16. 
  2.35     (c) "Competitive rate schedule" means a rate schedule under 
  2.36  which an electric utility may set or change the price for its 
  3.1   service to an individual customer or group of customers subject 
  3.2   to effective competition. 
  3.3      (d) "Competitive rate" means the actual rate offered by the 
  3.4   utility, and approved by the commission, to a customer subject 
  3.5   to effective competition. 
  3.6      (e) "Discretionary rate reduction" means a specific 
  3.7   reduction to an existing rate, offered voluntarily by the 
  3.8   utility to an individual customer or group of customers and 
  3.9   approved by the commission in accordance with subdivisions 9 and 
  3.10  10. 
  3.11     Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 216B.162, 
  3.12  subdivision 4, is amended to read: 
  3.14  When the commission authorizes a competitive rate schedule for a 
  3.15  customer class, it shall set the terms and conditions of service 
  3.16  for that schedule, which must include: 
  3.17     (1) that the minimum rate for the schedule recover at least 
  3.18  the incremental cost of providing the service, including the 
  3.19  cost of additional capacity that is to be added while the rate 
  3.20  is in effect and any applicable on-peak or off-peak 
  3.21  differential; 
  3.22     (2) that the maximum possible rate reduction under a 
  3.23  competitive rate schedule does not exceed the difference between 
  3.24  the electric utility's applicable standard tariff and the cost 
  3.25  to the customer of the lowest cost competitive energy supply; 
  3.26     (3) that the term of a contract for a customer who elects 
  3.27  to take service under a competitive rate must be no less than 
  3.28  one year and no longer than five years; 
  3.29     (4) that the electric utility, within a general rate case, 
  3.30  be allowed to seek recovery of the difference between the 
  3.31  standard tariff and the competitive rate times the usage level 
  3.32  during the test year period; 
  3.33     (5) (4) a determination that a rate within a competitive 
  3.34  rate schedule meets the conditions of section 216B.03, for other 
  3.35  customers in the same customer class; 
  3.36     (6) (5) that the rate does not compete with district 
  4.1   heating or cooling provided by a district heating utility as 
  4.2   defined by section 216B.166, subdivision 2, paragraph (c); and 
  4.3      (7) (6) that the rate may not be offered to a customer in 
  4.4   which the utility has a financial interest greater than 50 
  4.5   percent. 
  4.6      Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 216B.162, is 
  4.7   amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
  4.9   PERMITTED.] Notwithstanding sections 216B.03, 216B.06, 216B.07, 
  4.10  and 216B.16, a public utility whose rates are regulated under 
  4.11  this chapter may, at its discretion, offer a reduced rate for 
  4.12  tariffed electric services to eligible customers.  The 
  4.13  commission may approve a discretionary rate reduction provided 
  4.14  that: 
  4.15     (1) the reduction is offered to customers who are located 
  4.16  within the exclusive service territory of the public utility 
  4.17  that offers discretionary rate reductions or to potential 
  4.18  customers who are not customers of a Minnesota electric utility, 
  4.19  as defined in section 216B.38, but who propose to be located 
  4.20  within the exclusive service territory of the public utility; 
  4.21     (2) the reduction applies to customers requiring electric 
  4.22  service with a connected load of at least 2,000 kilowatts; 
  4.23     (3) the reduced rate recovers at least the incremental cost 
  4.24  of providing the service, including the cost of additional 
  4.25  capacity that is to be added while the rate is in effect and any 
  4.26  applicable on-peak or off-peak differential; 
  4.27     (4) in the event the commission has approved unbundled 
  4.28  rates, the reduction is not offered for any unbundled service 
  4.29  other than generation, unless the unbundled service is available 
  4.30  to the customer from a competitive supplier; 
  4.31     (5) the reduced rate does not compete with district heating 
  4.32  or cooling services provided by a district heating utility as 
  4.33  defined by section 216B.166, subdivision 2, paragraph (c); and 
  4.34     (6) the reduced rate does not compete with a natural gas 
  4.35  service provided by a natural gas utility and regulated by the 
  4.36  commission. 
  5.1      Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 216B.162, is 
  5.2   amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
  5.3      Subd. 10.  [COMMISSION DETERMINATION.] (a) Proposals for 
  5.4   discretionary rate reductions offered by utilities must be filed 
  5.5   with the commission, with copies of the filing served upon the 
  5.6   department of public service and the office of attorney general 
  5.7   at the same time it is served upon the commission.  The 
  5.8   commission shall review the proposals according to procedures 
  5.9   developed under section 216B.05, subdivision 2a.  The commission 
  5.10  shall not approve discretionary rate reductions offered by 
  5.11  public utilities that do not have an accepted resource plan on 
  5.12  file with the commission.  The commission shall not approve 
  5.13  discretionary rate reductions unless the utility has made the 
  5.14  customer aware of all cost-effective opportunities for energy 
  5.15  efficiency improvements offered by the utility. 
  5.16     (b) Public utilities that provide service under 
  5.17  discretionary rate reductions shall not, through increased 
  5.18  revenue requirements or through prospective rate design changes, 
  5.19  recover any revenues foregone due to the discretionary rate 
  5.20  reductions, nor shall the commission grant such recovery. 
  5.21     Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 216C.051, 
  5.22  subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
  5.23     Subd. 2.  [ESTABLISHMENT.] (a) There is established a 
  5.24  legislative electric energy task force to study future electric 
  5.25  energy sources and costs and to make recommendations for 
  5.26  legislation for an environmentally and economically sustainable 
  5.27  and advantageous electric energy supply. 
  5.28     (b) The task force consists of: 
  5.29     (1) eight members of the house of representatives including 
  5.30  the chairs of the environment and natural resources and 
  5.31  regulated industries and energy committees and six members to be 
  5.32  appointed by the speaker of the house, two of whom must be from 
  5.33  the minority caucus; 
  5.34     (2) eight members of the senate including the chairs of the 
  5.35  environment and natural resources and jobs, energy, and 
  5.36  community development committees and six members to be appointed 
  6.1   by the subcommittee on committees, two of whom must be from the 
  6.2   minority caucus. 
  6.3      (c) The task force may employ staff, contract for 
  6.4   consulting services, and may reimburse the expenses of persons 
  6.5   requested to assist it in its duties other than state employees 
  6.6   or employees of electric utilities.  The director of the 
  6.7   legislative coordinating commission shall assist the task force 
  6.8   in administrative matters.  The task force shall elect cochairs, 
  6.9   one member of the house and one member of the senate from among 
  6.10  the committee chairs named to the committee.  The task force 
  6.11  members from the house shall elect the house cochair, and the 
  6.12  task force members from the senate shall elect the senate 
  6.13  cochair. 
  6.14     Sec. 7.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 216C.051, 
  6.15  subdivision 6, is amended to read: 
  6.16     Subd. 6.  [ASSESSMENT; APPROPRIATION.] On request by the 
  6.17  cochairs of the legislative task force and after approval of the 
  6.18  legislative coordinating commission, the commissioner of the 
  6.19  department of public service shall assess from electric 
  6.20  utilities, in addition to assessments made under section 
  6.21  216B.62, the amount requested for the studies and analysis 
  6.22  required in subdivisions 3 and 4 and for operation of the task 
  6.23  force not to exceed $350,000 $700,000.  This authority to assess 
  6.24  continues until the commissioner has assessed a total of 
  6.25  $350,000 $700,000.  The amount assessed under this section is 
  6.26  appropriated to the director of the legislative coordinating 
  6.27  commission for those purposes, and is available until expended. 
  6.28     Sec. 8.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 216C.19, 
  6.29  subdivision 5, is amended to read: 
  6.31  EXCEPTION.] After July 1, 1974, no new natural gas outdoor 
  6.32  lighting shall be installed in the state.  However, the 
  6.33  installation and use of natural gas outdoor lighting that is 
  6.34  equipped with either an automatic daytime shutoff device or is 
  6.35  otherwise capable of being switched on and off, is permitted. 
  6.36     Sec. 9.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 272.02, 
  7.1   subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
  7.2      Subdivision 1.  All property described in this section to 
  7.3   the extent herein limited shall be exempt from taxation: 
  7.4      (1) All public burying grounds. 
  7.5      (2) All public schoolhouses. 
  7.6      (3) All public hospitals. 
  7.7      (4) All academies, colleges, and universities, and all 
  7.8   seminaries of learning. 
  7.9      (5) All churches, church property, and houses of worship. 
  7.10     (6) Institutions of purely public charity except parcels of 
  7.11  property containing structures and the structures described in 
  7.12  section 273.13, subdivision 25, paragraph (c), clauses (1), (2), 
  7.13  and (3), or paragraph (d), other than those that qualify for 
  7.14  exemption under clause (25). 
  7.15     (7) All public property exclusively used for any public 
  7.16  purpose. 
  7.17     (8) Except for the taxable personal property enumerated 
  7.18  below, all personal property and the property described in 
  7.19  section 272.03, subdivision 1, paragraphs (c) and (d), shall be 
  7.20  exempt.  
  7.21     The following personal property shall be taxable:  
  7.22     (a) personal property which is part of an electric 
  7.23  generating, transmission, or distribution system or a pipeline 
  7.24  system transporting or distributing water, gas, crude oil, or 
  7.25  petroleum products or mains and pipes used in the distribution 
  7.26  of steam or hot or chilled water for heating or cooling 
  7.27  buildings and structures; 
  7.28     (b) railroad docks and wharves which are part of the 
  7.29  operating property of a railroad company as defined in section 
  7.30  270.80; 
  7.31     (c) personal property defined in section 272.03, 
  7.32  subdivision 2, clause (3); 
  7.33     (d) leasehold or other personal property interests which 
  7.34  are taxed pursuant to section 272.01, subdivision 2; 273.124, 
  7.35  subdivision 7; or 273.19, subdivision 1; or any other law 
  7.36  providing the property is taxable as if the lessee or user were 
  8.1   the fee owner; 
  8.2      (e) manufactured homes and sectional structures, including 
  8.3   storage sheds, decks, and similar removable improvements 
  8.4   constructed on the site of a manufactured home, sectional 
  8.5   structure, park trailer or travel trailer as provided in section 
  8.6   273.125, subdivision 8, paragraph (f); and 
  8.7      (f) flight property as defined in section 270.071.  
  8.8      (9) Personal property used primarily for the abatement and 
  8.9   control of air, water, or land pollution to the extent that it 
  8.10  is so used, and real property which is used primarily for 
  8.11  abatement and control of air, water, or land pollution as part 
  8.12  of an agricultural operation, as a part of a centralized 
  8.13  treatment and recovery facility operating under a permit issued 
  8.14  by the Minnesota pollution control agency pursuant to chapters 
  8.15  115 and 116 and Minnesota Rules, parts 7001.0500 to 7001.0730, 
  8.16  and 7045.0020 to 7045.1260, as a wastewater treatment facility 
  8.17  and for the treatment, recovery, and stabilization of metals, 
  8.18  oils, chemicals, water, sludges, or inorganic materials from 
  8.19  hazardous industrial wastes, or as part of an electric 
  8.20  generation system.  For purposes of this clause, personal 
  8.21  property includes ponderous machinery and equipment used in a 
  8.22  business or production activity that at common law is considered 
  8.23  real property. 
  8.24     Any taxpayer requesting exemption of all or a portion of 
  8.25  any real property or any equipment or device, or part thereof, 
  8.26  operated primarily for the control or abatement of air or water 
  8.27  pollution shall file an application with the commissioner of 
  8.28  revenue.  The equipment or device shall meet standards, rules, 
  8.29  or criteria prescribed by the Minnesota pollution control 
  8.30  agency, and must be installed or operated in accordance with a 
  8.31  permit or order issued by that agency.  The Minnesota pollution 
  8.32  control agency shall upon request of the commissioner furnish 
  8.33  information or advice to the commissioner.  On determining that 
  8.34  property qualifies for exemption, the commissioner shall issue 
  8.35  an order exempting the property from taxation.  The equipment or 
  8.36  device shall continue to be exempt from taxation as long as the 
  9.1   permit issued by the Minnesota pollution control agency remains 
  9.2   in effect. 
  9.3      (10) Wetlands.  For purposes of this subdivision, 
  9.4   "wetlands" means:  (i) land described in section 103G.005, 
  9.5   subdivision 15a; (ii) land which is mostly under water, produces 
  9.6   little if any income, and has no use except for wildlife or 
  9.7   water conservation purposes, provided it is preserved in its 
  9.8   natural condition and drainage of it would be legal, feasible, 
  9.9   and economically practical for the production of livestock, 
  9.10  dairy animals, poultry, fruit, vegetables, forage and grains, 
  9.11  except wild rice; or (iii) land in a wetland preservation area 
  9.12  under sections 103F.612 to 103F.616.  "Wetlands" under items (i) 
  9.13  and (ii) include adjacent land which is not suitable for 
  9.14  agricultural purposes due to the presence of the wetlands, but 
  9.15  do not include woody swamps containing shrubs or trees, wet 
  9.16  meadows, meandered water, streams, rivers, and floodplains or 
  9.17  river bottoms.  Exemption of wetlands from taxation pursuant to 
  9.18  this section shall not grant the public any additional or 
  9.19  greater right of access to the wetlands or diminish any right of 
  9.20  ownership to the wetlands. 
  9.21     (11) Native prairie.  The commissioner of the department of
  9.22  natural resources shall determine lands in the state which are 
  9.23  native prairie and shall notify the county assessor of each 
  9.24  county in which the lands are located.  Pasture land used for 
  9.25  livestock grazing purposes shall not be considered native 
  9.26  prairie for the purposes of this clause.  Upon receipt of an 
  9.27  application for the exemption provided in this clause for lands 
  9.28  for which the assessor has no determination from the 
  9.29  commissioner of natural resources, the assessor shall refer the 
  9.30  application to the commissioner of natural resources who shall 
  9.31  determine within 30 days whether the land is native prairie and 
  9.32  notify the county assessor of the decision.  Exemption of native 
  9.33  prairie pursuant to this clause shall not grant the public any 
  9.34  additional or greater right of access to the native prairie or 
  9.35  diminish any right of ownership to it. 
  9.36     (12) Property used in a continuous program to provide 
 10.1   emergency shelter for victims of domestic abuse, provided the 
 10.2   organization that owns and sponsors the shelter is exempt from 
 10.3   federal income taxation pursuant to section 501(c)(3) of the 
 10.4   Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended through December 31, 
 10.5   1992, notwithstanding the fact that the sponsoring organization 
 10.6   receives funding under section 8 of the United States Housing 
 10.7   Act of 1937, as amended. 
 10.8      (13) If approved by the governing body of the municipality 
 10.9   in which the property is located, property not exceeding one 
 10.10  acre which is owned and operated by any senior citizen group or 
 10.11  association of groups that in general limits membership to 
 10.12  persons age 55 or older and is organized and operated 
 10.13  exclusively for pleasure, recreation, and other nonprofit 
 10.14  purposes, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the 
 10.15  benefit of any private shareholders; provided the property is 
 10.16  used primarily as a clubhouse, meeting facility, or recreational 
 10.17  facility by the group or association and the property is not 
 10.18  used for residential purposes on either a temporary or permanent 
 10.19  basis. 
 10.20     (14) To the extent provided by section 295.44, real and 
 10.21  personal property used or to be used primarily for the 
 10.22  production of hydroelectric or hydromechanical power on a site 
 10.23  owned by the federal government, the state, or a local 
 10.24  governmental unit which is developed and operated pursuant to 
 10.25  the provisions of section 103G.535. 
 10.26     (15) If approved by the governing body of the municipality 
 10.27  in which the property is located, and if construction is 
 10.28  commenced after June 30, 1983:  
 10.29     (a) a "direct satellite broadcasting facility" operated by 
 10.30  a corporation licensed by the federal communications commission 
 10.31  to provide direct satellite broadcasting services using direct 
 10.32  broadcast satellites operating in the 12-ghz. band; and 
 10.33     (b) a "fixed satellite regional or national program service 
 10.34  facility" operated by a corporation licensed by the federal 
 10.35  communications commission to provide fixed satellite-transmitted 
 10.36  regularly scheduled broadcasting services using satellites 
 11.1   operating in the 6-ghz. band. 
 11.2   An exemption provided by clause (15) shall apply for a period 
 11.3   not to exceed five years.  When the facility no longer qualifies 
 11.4   for exemption, it shall be placed on the assessment rolls as 
 11.5   provided in subdivision 4.  Before approving a tax exemption 
 11.6   pursuant to this paragraph, the governing body of the 
 11.7   municipality shall provide an opportunity to the members of the 
 11.8   county board of commissioners of the county in which the 
 11.9   facility is proposed to be located and the members of the school 
 11.10  board of the school district in which the facility is proposed 
 11.11  to be located to meet with the governing body.  The governing 
 11.12  body shall present to the members of those boards its estimate 
 11.13  of the fiscal impact of the proposed property tax exemption.  
 11.14  The tax exemption shall not be approved by the governing body 
 11.15  until the county board of commissioners has presented its 
 11.16  written comment on the proposal to the governing body or 30 days 
 11.17  have passed from the date of the transmittal by the governing 
 11.18  body to the board of the information on the fiscal impact, 
 11.19  whichever occurs first. 
 11.20     (16) Real and personal property owned and operated by a 
 11.21  private, nonprofit corporation exempt from federal income 
 11.22  taxation pursuant to United States Code, title 26, section 
 11.23  501(c)(3), primarily used in the generation and distribution of 
 11.24  hot water for heating buildings and structures.  
 11.25     (17) Notwithstanding section 273.19, state lands that are 
 11.26  leased from the department of natural resources under section 
 11.27  92.46. 
 11.28     (18) Electric power distribution lines and their 
 11.29  attachments and appurtenances, that are used primarily for 
 11.30  supplying electricity to farmers at retail.  
 11.31     (19) Transitional housing facilities.  "Transitional 
 11.32  housing facility" means a facility that meets the following 
 11.33  requirements.  (i) It provides temporary housing to individuals, 
 11.34  couples, or families.  (ii) It has the purpose of reuniting 
 11.35  families and enabling parents or individuals to obtain 
 11.36  self-sufficiency, advance their education, get job training, or 
 12.1   become employed in jobs that provide a living wage.  (iii) It 
 12.2   provides support services such as child care, work readiness 
 12.3   training, and career development counseling; and a 
 12.4   self-sufficiency program with periodic monitoring of each 
 12.5   resident's progress in completing the program's goals.  (iv) It 
 12.6   provides services to a resident of the facility for at least 
 12.7   three months but no longer than three years, except residents 
 12.8   enrolled in an educational or vocational institution or job 
 12.9   training program.  These residents may receive services during 
 12.10  the time they are enrolled but in no event longer than four 
 12.11  years.  (v) It is owned and operated or under lease from a unit 
 12.12  of government or governmental agency under a property 
 12.13  disposition program and operated by one or more organizations 
 12.14  exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the 
 12.15  Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended through December 31, 
 12.16  1992.  This exemption applies notwithstanding the fact that the 
 12.17  sponsoring organization receives financing by a direct federal 
 12.18  loan or federally insured loan or a loan made by the Minnesota 
 12.19  housing finance agency under the provisions of either Title II 
 12.20  of the National Housing Act or the Minnesota housing finance 
 12.21  agency law of 1971 or rules promulgated by the agency pursuant 
 12.22  to it, and notwithstanding the fact that the sponsoring 
 12.23  organization receives funding under Section 8 of the United 
 12.24  States Housing Act of 1937, as amended. 
 12.25     (20) Real and personal property, including leasehold or 
 12.26  other personal property interests, owned and operated by a 
 12.27  corporation if more than 50 percent of the total voting power of 
 12.28  the stock of the corporation is owned collectively by:  (i) the 
 12.29  board of regents of the University of Minnesota, (ii) the 
 12.30  University of Minnesota Foundation, an organization exempt from 
 12.31  federal income taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal 
 12.32  Revenue Code of 1986, as amended through December 31, 1992, and 
 12.33  (iii) a corporation organized under chapter 317A, which by its 
 12.34  articles of incorporation is prohibited from providing pecuniary 
 12.35  gain to any person or entity other than the regents of the 
 12.36  University of Minnesota; which property is used primarily to 
 13.1   manage or provide goods, services, or facilities utilizing or 
 13.2   relating to large-scale advanced scientific computing resources 
 13.3   to the regents of the University of Minnesota and others. 
 13.4      (21)(a) Wind energy conversion systems, as defined in 
 13.5   section 216C.06, subdivision 12, installed after January 1, 
 13.6   1991, and before January 2, 1995, and used as an electric power 
 13.7   source, are exempt. 
 13.8      (b) Wind energy conversion systems, as defined in section 
 13.9   216C.06, subdivision 12, installed after January 1, 1995, 
 13.10  including the foundation or support pad, which are (i) used as 
 13.11  an electric power source; (ii) located within one county and 
 13.12  owned by the same owner; and (iii) produce two megawatts or less 
 13.13  of electricity as measured by nameplate ratings, are exempt. 
 13.14     (c) Wind energy conversion systems, as defined in section 
 13.15  216C.06, subdivision 12, installed after January 1, 1995, and 
 13.16  used as an electric power source but not exempt under item (b), 
 13.17  are treated as follows:  (i) the foundation and support pad are 
 13.18  taxable; (ii) the associated supporting and protective 
 13.19  structures are exempt for the first five assessment years after 
 13.20  they have been constructed, and thereafter, 30 percent of the 
 13.21  market value of the associated supporting and protective 
 13.22  structures are taxable; and (iii) the turbines, blades, 
 13.23  transformers, and its related equipment, are exempt. 
 13.24     (22) Containment tanks, cache basins, and that portion of 
 13.25  the structure needed for the containment facility used to 
 13.26  confine agricultural chemicals as defined in section 18D.01, 
 13.27  subdivision 3, as required by the commissioner of agriculture 
 13.28  under chapter 18B or 18C. 
 13.29     (23) Photovoltaic devices, as defined in section 216C.06, 
 13.30  subdivision 13, installed after January 1, 1992, and used to 
 13.31  produce or store electric power. 
 13.32     (24) Real and personal property owned and operated by a 
 13.33  private, nonprofit corporation exempt from federal income 
 13.34  taxation pursuant to United States Code, title 26, section 
 13.35  501(c)(3), primarily used for an ice arena or ice rink, and used 
 13.36  primarily for youth and high school programs. 
 14.1      (25) A structure that is situated on real property that is 
 14.2   used for: 
 14.3      (i) housing for the elderly or for low- and moderate-income 
 14.4   families as defined in Title II of the National Housing Act, as 
 14.5   amended through December 31, 1990, and funded by a direct 
 14.6   federal loan or federally insured loan made pursuant to Title II 
 14.7   of the act; or 
 14.8      (ii) housing lower income families or elderly or 
 14.9   handicapped persons, as defined in Section 8 of the United 
 14.10  States Housing Act of 1937, as amended. 
 14.11     In order for a structure to be exempt under (i) or (ii), it 
 14.12  must also meet each of the following criteria: 
 14.13     (A) is owned by an entity which is operated as a nonprofit 
 14.14  corporation organized under chapter 317A; 
 14.15     (B) is owned by an entity which has not entered into a 
 14.16  housing assistance payments contract under Section 8 of the 
 14.17  United States Housing Act of 1937, or, if the entity which owns 
 14.18  the structure has entered into a housing assistance payments 
 14.19  contract under Section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 
 14.20  1937, the contract provides assistance for less than 90 percent 
 14.21  of the dwelling units in the structure, excluding dwelling units 
 14.22  intended for management or maintenance personnel; 
 14.23     (C) operates an on-site congregate dining program in which 
 14.24  participation by residents is mandatory, and provides assisted 
 14.25  living or similar social and physical support services for 
 14.26  residents; and 
 14.27     (D) was not assessed and did not pay tax under chapter 273 
 14.28  prior to the 1991 levy, while meeting the other conditions of 
 14.29  this clause. 
 14.30     An exemption under this clause remains in effect for taxes 
 14.31  levied in each year or partial year of the term of its permanent 
 14.32  financing. 
 14.33     (26) Real and personal property that is located in the 
 14.34  Superior National Forest, and owned or leased and operated by a 
 14.35  nonprofit organization that is exempt from federal income 
 14.36  taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 
 15.1   1986, as amended through December 31, 1992, and primarily used 
 15.2   to provide recreational opportunities for disabled veterans and 
 15.3   their families. 
 15.4      (27) Manure pits and appurtenances, which may include 
 15.5   slatted floors and pipes, installed or operated in accordance 
 15.6   with a permit, order, or certificate of compliance issued by the 
 15.7   Minnesota pollution control agency.  The exemption shall 
 15.8   continue for as long as the permit, order, or certificate issued 
 15.9   by the Minnesota pollution control agency remains in effect. 
 15.10     (28) Notwithstanding clause (8), item (a), attached 
 15.11  machinery and other personal property which is part of a 
 15.12  facility containing a cogeneration system as described in 
 15.13  section 216B.166, subdivision 2, paragraph (a), if the 
 15.14  cogeneration system has met the following criteria:  (i) the 
 15.15  system utilizes natural gas as a primary fuel and the 
 15.16  cogenerated steam initially replaces steam generated from 
 15.17  existing thermal boilers utilizing coal; (ii) the facility 
 15.18  developer is selected as a result of a procurement process 
 15.19  ordered by the public utilities commission; and (iii) 
 15.20  construction of the facility is commenced after July 1, 1994, 
 15.21  and before July 1, 1997. 
 15.22     (29) Real property acquired by a home rule charter city, 
 15.23  statutory city, county, town, or school district under a lease 
 15.24  purchase agreement or an installment purchase contract during 
 15.25  the term of the lease purchase agreement as long as and to the 
 15.26  extent that the property is used by the city, county, town, or 
 15.27  school district and devoted to a public use and to the extent it 
 15.28  is not subleased to any private individual, entity, association, 
 15.29  or corporation in connection with a business or enterprise 
 15.30  operated for profit. 
 15.31     Sec. 10.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 295.44, 
 15.32  subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
 15.33     Subdivision 1.  [EXEMPTION.] Notwithstanding the provisions 
 15.34  of sections 272.01, subdivision 2, 272.02, subdivision 5, and 
 15.35  273.19, subdivision 1, real or personal property used or to be 
 15.36  used primarily for the production of hydroelectric or 
 16.1   hydromechanical power on a site owned by the federal government, 
 16.2   the state, or a local governmental unit and developed and 
 16.3   operated pursuant to section 103G.535 may be exempt from 
 16.4   property taxation for all years during which the site is 
 16.5   developed and operated under the terms of a lease or agreement 
 16.6   authorized by section 103G.535. 
 16.9      (a) The legislative electric energy task force shall review 
 16.10  and analyze issues relating to the restructuring of the electric 
 16.11  industry.  At a minimum, the task force shall study the 
 16.12  potential costs and benefits of restructuring on: 
 16.13     (1) low-income, residential, small business and large 
 16.14  commercial, and industrial electric consumer rates and services, 
 16.15  including the ability of all customers to participate in and 
 16.16  benefit from a restructured industry; 
 16.17     (2) the overall state's economy, as well as the economy of 
 16.18  regions within the state, and the cost of doing business in the 
 16.19  state; 
 16.20     (3) the reliability and safety of the electricity system, 
 16.21  including system planning and operation; 
 16.22     (4) the state's environment, including the cost-effective 
 16.23  promotion of conservation and renewable energy; and 
 16.24     (5) public, private, and cooperative utilities, and 
 16.25  alternative electricity suppliers, including the development of 
 16.26  competitively neutral markets. 
 16.27     The task force shall present recommendations to the 
 16.28  legislature regarding electric industry restructuring by January 
 16.29  15, 1998. 
 16.30     (b) In performing the review and analysis under paragraph 
 16.31  (a), the task force shall solicit information from and the 
 16.32  viewpoints of all affected and involved parties, which include, 
 16.33  but are not limited to: 
 16.34     (1) the public utilities commission; 
 16.35     (2) investor-owned utilities; 
 16.36     (3) rural electric cooperatives and municipal electric 
 17.1   utilities; 
 17.2      (4) large business electricity consumers; 
 17.3      (5) small business electricity consumers; 
 17.4      (6) residential consumers; 
 17.5      (7) environmental interest groups; and 
 17.6      (8) the general public. 
 17.8   TASK FORCE.] 
 17.9      The legislative electric energy task force shall, by 
 17.10  January 15, 1998, conduct an analysis of issues relating to the 
 17.11  personal property tax on electric and gas utilities in the state 
 17.12  and shall issue its findings and recommendations to the 
 17.13  legislature by that date regarding: 
 17.14     (1) the effects the personal property tax has on the 
 17.15  ability of Minnesota electric and gas utilities to compete in a 
 17.16  less regulated energy industry; 
 17.17     (2) the impacts that eliminating the personal property tax 
 17.18  on utilities would have on local government units, including 
 17.19  school districts, that depend on the revenues from that tax; 
 17.20     (3) the impact eliminating the personal property tax would 
 17.21  have on state revenues, local government aids, school district 
 17.22  funding formulas, and ratepayers; and 
 17.23     (4) alternatives the legislature can consider to address 
 17.24  the issues that arise under clause (1) while minimizing the 
 17.25  impacts described in clause (2). 
 17.26     The task force shall establish an interim subcommittee on 
 17.27  utility taxation to address these issues, and the subcommittee 
 17.28  shall work closely with officials from affected local government 
 17.29  units in formulating recommendations to present to the full task 
 17.30  force. 
 17.31     Sec. 13.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
 17.32     Sections 1, 6 to 8, 11, and 12 are effective the day 
 17.33  following final enactment.  Sections 9 and 10 are effective for 
 17.34  taxes payable in 1998 and thereafter. 
 17.35                             ARTICLE 2
 17.36     Section 1.  [TITLE.] 
 18.1      Section 2 may be referred to as the Mercury Emissions 
 18.2   Consumer Information Act of 1997. 
 18.3      Sec. 2.  [116.925] [ELECTRIC ENERGY; MERCURY EMISSIONS 
 18.4   REPORT.] 
 18.5      Subdivision 1.  [REPORT.] To address the shared 
 18.6   responsibility between the providers and consumers of 
 18.7   electricity for the protection of Minnesota's lakes, each 
 18.8   electric utility, as defined in section 216B.38, subdivision 5, 
 18.9   and each person that generates electricity in this state for 
 18.10  that person's own use or for sale at retail or wholesale shall 
 18.11  provide to the commissioner of the pollution control agency by 
 18.12  April 1 an annual report of the amount of mercury emitted in 
 18.13  generating that electricity at that person's facilities for the 
 18.14  previous calendar year. 
 18.15     Subd. 2.  [CONTENTS OF REPORT.] A report must include: 
 18.16     (1) a list of all generation facilities owned or operated 
 18.17  by the utility or person subject to subdivision 1; 
 18.18     (2) all readily available information regarding the amount 
 18.19  of electricity purchased by the utility or person subject to 
 18.20  subdivision 1, for use in the state; and 
 18.21     (3) information for each facility owned or operated by the 
 18.22  utility or person subject to subdivision 1, stating:  (i) the 
 18.23  amount of electricity generated at the facility for use or for 
 18.24  sale in this state at retail or wholesale; (ii) the amount of 
 18.25  fuel used to generate that electricity at the facility; and 
 18.26  (iii) the amount of mercury emitted in generating that 
 18.27  electricity in the previous calendar year, based on emission 
 18.28  factors, stack tests, fuel analysis, or other methods approved 
 18.29  by the commissioner.  The report must include the mercury 
 18.30  content of the fuel if it is determined in conjunction with a 
 18.31  stack test. 
 18.32     (b) The following are de minimis standards for small and 
 18.33  little-used generation facilities: 
 18.34     (1) less than 240 hours of operation by the combustion unit 
 18.35  per year; 
 18.36     (2) a fuel capacity input at the combustion unit of less 
 19.1   than 150 million British thermal units per hour; or 
 19.2      (3) an electrical generation unit with maximum output of 
 19.3   less than or equal to 15 megawatts.  
 19.4      A utility or person subject to this section who owns or 
 19.5   operates a combustion unit that qualifies under one of these de 
 19.6   minimis standards is not required to provide the information 
 19.7   described in paragraph (a) for that combustion unit. 
 19.8      (c) A report need not be filed for a combustion device for 
 19.9   a year in which the device has documented mercury emissions of 
 19.10  three pounds or less. 
 19.11     Subd. 3.  [REPORT TO CONSUMERS.] By January 1, 1999, and 
 19.12  biennially thereafter in the report on air toxics required under 
 19.13  section 115D.15, the commissioner shall report the amount of 
 19.14  mercury emitted in the generation of electricity. 
 19.15     Sec. 3.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
 19.16     Sections 1 and 2 are effective the day following final 
 19.17  enactment.