language to be deleted (2) new language
relating to energy; modifying provisions related to software sale fund and renewable development account; clarifying Department of Commerce regional and national duties on energy policy; removing obsolete and redundant language; changing reporting requirements for energy conservation improvements; providing for cost recovery for certain pollution control products; authorizing the Public Utilities Commission to approve a multiyear plan for certain utilities; providing for nuclear power plant decommissioning and storage of used nuclear fuel; defining certain terms; requiring a report on the rate impact of activities of an electric utility; making clarifying and technical changes; making provisions for regulatory incentives granted to an innovative energy project; exempting certain utilities from the conservation improvement program; allowing assessments to energy utilities for department regional and national duties; providing an exemption from greenhouse gas emissions and conservation improvement program; providing a temporary prohibition on Public Utilities Commission approval of certain renewable development account expenditures; allowing the city of Melrose to increase the city's Public Utilities Commission membership;
amending Minnesota Statutes 2010, sections 16E.15, subdivision 2; 116C.779, subdivisions 1, 3; 216A.07, by adding a subdivision; 216B.02, by adding a subdivision; 216B.026, subdivision 1; 216B.096, subdivision 3; 216B.16, subdivisions 6b, 7, 9, 15, by adding a subdivision; 216B.1691, subdivision 1, by adding a subdivision; 216B.1694, by adding a subdivision; 216B.2401; 216B.241, subdivisions 1, 1a, 1c, 2; 216B.2425, subdivision 2; 216B.49, subdivision 3; 216B.62, subdivisions 2, 3, by adding a subdivision; 216C.11; 216C.264; 216E.18, subdivision 3; 216H.03, subdivision 7; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 216B; repealing Minnesota Statutes 2010, sections 216A.085; 216B.242; 216C.052, subdivisions 1, 2, 4; 216F.09.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:
(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c), proceeds of the sale or licensing of software products or services by the chief information officer must be credited to the enterprise technology revolving fund. If a state agency other than the Office of Enterprise Technology has contributed to the development of software sold or licensed under this section, the chief information officer may reimburse the agency by discounting computer services provided to that agency.
(b) Proceeds of the sale or licensing of software products or services developed by the Pollution Control Agency, or custom developed by a vendor for the agency, must be credited to the environmental fund.
(c) Proceeds of the sale or licensing of software products or services developed by the Department of Education, or custom developed by a vendor for the agency, to support the achieved savings assessment program, must be appropriated to the commissioner of education and credited to the weatherization program to support weatherization activities.
(a) The public utility that owns the Prairie Island nuclear generating plant must transfer to a renewable development account $500,000 each year for each dry cask containing spent fuel that is located at the Prairie Island power plant for each year the plant is in operation, and $7,500,000 each year the plant is not in operation if ordered by the commission pursuant to paragraph (d). The fund transfer must be made if nuclear waste is stored in a dry cask at the independent spent-fuel storage facility at Prairie Island for any part of a year. Funds in the account may be expended only for development of renewable energy sources. Preference must be given to development of renewable energy source projects located within the state. The utility that owns a nuclear generating plant is eligible to apply for renewable development fund grants. The utility's proposals must be evaluated by the renewable development fund board in a manner consistent with that used to evaluate other renewable development fund project proposals.
(b) The public utility that owns the Monticello nuclear generating plant must transfer to the renewable development account $350,000 each year for each dry cask containing spent fuel that is located at the Monticello nuclear power plant for each year the plant is in operation, and $5,250,000 each year the plant is not in operation if ordered by the commission pursuant to paragraph (d). The fund transfer must be made if nuclear waste is stored in a dry cask at the independent spent-fuel storage facility at Monticello for any part of a year.
(c) Expenditures from the account may only be made after approval by order of the Public Utilities Commission upon a petition by the public utility.
(d) After discontinuation of operation of the Prairie Island nuclear plant or the Monticello nuclear plant and each year spent nuclear fuel is stored in dry cask at the discontinued facility, the commission shall require the public utility to pay $7,500,000 for the discontinued Prairie Island facility and $5,250,000 for the discontinued Monticello facility for any year in which the commission finds, by the preponderance of the evidence, that the public utility did not make a good faith effort to remove the spent nuclear fuel stored at the facility to a permanent or interim storage site out of the state. This determination shall be made at least every two years.
(a) Beginning July 1, 2009, and each July 1 through 2012, $5,000,000 must be allocated from the renewable development account to fund a grant to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment for the purposes described in paragraph (b). The Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment must set aside at least 15 percent of the funds received annually under the grant for qualified projects conducted at a rural campus or experiment station. Any set-aside funds not awarded to a rural campus or experiment station at the end of the fiscal year revert back to the Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment for its exclusive use. This subdivision does not create an obligation to contribute funds to the account.
(b) Activities funded under this grant may include, but are not limited to:
(1) environmentally sound production of energy from a renewable energy source, including biomass and agricultural crops;
(2) environmentally sound production of hydrogen from biomass and any other renewable energy source for energy storage and energy utilization;
(3) development of energy conservation and efficient energy utilization technologies;
(4) energy storage technologies; and
(5) analysis of policy options to facilitate adoption of technologies that use or produce low-carbon renewable energy.
(c) For the purposes of this subdivision:
(1) "biomass" means plant and animal material, agricultural and forest residues, mixed municipal solid waste, and sludge from wastewater treatment; and
(2) "renewable energy source" means hydro, wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy, and microorganisms used as an energy source.
(d) Beginning January 15 of 2010, and each year thereafter, the director of the Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment at the University of Minnesota shall submit a report to the chair and ranking minority members of the senate and house of representatives committees with primary jurisdiction over energy finance describing the activities conducted during the previous year funded under this subdivision.
(a) A cooperative electric association may elect to become subject to rate regulation by the commission pursuant to sections 216B.03 to 216B.23. The election shall be approved by a majority of members or stockholders voting by mail ballot initiated by petition of not less than five percent of the members or stockholders of the association, as determined by membership figures submitted by the association to the Rural Electric Administration for the month in which the petition was submitted.
(b) For a cooperative electric association that is the product of a merger or consolidation of three or more associations between December 30, 1996, and January 1, 2001, the number of members or stockholders necessary to initiate the petition shall be no less than one percent of the members or stockholders of the association.
Each year, between September 1 and October 15, each utility must provide all customers, personally or by first class mail, a summary of rights and responsibilities. The summary must also be provided to all new residential customers when service is initiated.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, all investments and expenses of a public utility as defined in section 216B.241, subdivision 1, paragraph (i), incurred in connection with energy conservation improvements shall be recognized and included by the commission in the determination of just and reasonable rates as if the investments and expenses were directly made or incurred by the utility in furnishing utility service.
(b) investments and expenses for energy conservation improvements shall not be included by the commission in the determination of (i) just and reasonable electric and gas rates for retail electric and gas service provided to large electric customer facilities that have been exempted by the commissioner of the department pursuant to section 216B.241, subdivision 1a, paragraph (b); or (ii) just and reasonable gas rates for large energy facilities.
(c) The commission may permit a public utility to file rate schedules providing for annual recovery of the costs of energy conservation improvements. These rate schedules may be applicable to less than all the customers in a class of retail customers if necessary to reflect the requirements of section 216B.241. The commission shall allow a public utility, without requiring a general rate filing under this section, to reduce the electric and gas rates applicable to large electric customer facilities that have been exempted by the commissioner of the department pursuant to section 216B.241, subdivision 1a, paragraph (b), and to reduce the gas rate applicable to a large energy facility by an amount that reflects the elimination of energy conservation improvement investments or expenditures for those facilities. In the event that the commission has set electric or gas rates based on the use of an accounting methodology that results in the cost of conservation improvements being recovered from utility customers over a period of years, the rate reduction may occur in a series of steps to coincide with the recovery of balances due to the utility for conservation improvements made by the utility on or before December 31, 2007.
(d) Investments and expenses of a public utility shall not include electric utility infrastructure costs as defined in section 216B.1636, subdivision 1, paragraph (b).
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the commission may permit a public utility to file rate schedules containing provisions for the automatic adjustment of charges for public utility service in direct relation to changes in:
(1) federally regulated wholesale rates for energy delivered through interstate facilities;
(2) direct costs for natural gas delivered; or
(3) costs for fuel used in generation of electricity or the manufacture of gas
The commission shall allow as operating expenses only those charitable contributions which the commission deems prudent and which qualify under section 290.21, subdivision 3, clause (b). Only 50 percent of the qualified contributions shall be allowed as operating expenses.
(a) The commission must consider ability to pay as a factor in setting utility rates and may establish affordability programs for low-income residential ratepayers in order to ensure affordable, reliable, and continuous service to low-income utility customers. Affordability programs may include inverted block rates in which lower energy prices are made available to lower usage customers. By September 1, 2007, A public utility serving low-income residential ratepayers who use natural gas for heating must file an affordability program with the commission. For purposes of this subdivision, "low-income residential ratepayers" means ratepayers who receive energy assistance from the low-income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP).
(b) Any affordability program the commission orders a utility to implement must:
(1) lower the percentage of income that participating low-income households devote to energy bills;
(2) increase participating customer payments over time by increasing the frequency of payments;
(3) decrease or eliminate participating customer arrears;
(4) lower the utility costs associated with customer account collection activities; and
(5) coordinate the program with other available low-income bill payment assistance and conservation resources.
(c) In ordering affordability programs, the commission may require public utilities to file program evaluations that measure the effect of the affordability program on:
(1) the percentage of income that participating households devote to energy bills;
(2) service disconnections; and
(3) frequency of customer payments, utility collection costs, arrearages, and bad debt.
(d) The commission must issue orders necessary to implement, administer, and evaluate affordability programs, and to allow a utility to recover program costs, including administrative costs, on a timely basis. The commission may not allow a utility to recover administrative costs, excluding start-up costs, in excess of five percent of total program costs, or program evaluation costs in excess of two percent of total program costs. The commission must permit deferred accounting, with carrying costs, for recovery of program costs incurred during the period between general rate cases.
(e) Public utilities may use information collected or created for the purpose of administering energy assistance to administer affordability programs.
(a) Unless otherwise specified in law, "eligible energy technology" means an energy technology that generates electricity from the following renewable energy sources:
(3) hydroelectric with a capacity of less than 100 megawatts;
(4) hydrogen, provided that after January 1, 2010, the hydrogen must be generated from the resources listed in this paragraph; or
(5) biomass, which includes, without limitation, landfill gas; an anaerobic digester system; the predominantly organic components of wastewater effluent, sludge, or related by-products from publicly owned treatment works, but not including incineration of wastewater sludge to produce electricity; and an energy recovery facility used to capture the heat value of mixed municipal solid waste or refuse-derived fuel from mixed municipal solid waste as a primary fuel.
(b) "Electric utility" means a public utility providing electric service, a generation and transmission cooperative electric association, a municipal power agency, or a power district.
(c) "Total retail electric sales" means the kilowatt-hours of electricity sold in a year by an electric utility to retail customers of the electric utility or to a distribution utility for distribution to the retail customers of the distribution utility.
It is the energy policy of the state of Minnesota to achieve annual energy savings equal to 1.5 percent of annual retail energy sales of electricity and natural gas directly through energy conservation improvement programs and rate design, such as inverted block rates in which lower energy prices are made available to lower-usage residential customers, and indirectly through energy codes and appliance standards, programs designed to transform the market or change consumer behavior, energy savings resulting from efficiency improvements to the utility infrastructure and system, and other efforts to promote energy efficiency and energy conservation.
For purposes of this section and section 216B.16, subdivision 6b, the terms defined in this subdivision have the meanings given them.
(a) "Commission" means the Public Utilities Commission.
(b) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of commerce.
(c) "Customer facility" means all buildings, structures, equipment, and installations at a single site.
(d) "Department" means the Department of Commerce.
(e) "Energy conservation" means demand-side management of energy supplies resulting in a net reduction in energy use. Load management that reduces overall energy use is energy conservation.
(f) "Energy conservation improvement" means a project that results in energy efficiency or energy conservation. Energy conservation improvement may include waste heat recovery converted into electricity but does not include electric utility infrastructure projects approved by the commission under section 216B.1636.
(g) "Energy efficiency" means measures or programs, including energy conservation measures or programs, that target consumer behavior, equipment, processes, or devices designed to produce either an absolute decrease in consumption of electric energy or natural gas or a decrease in consumption of electric energy or natural gas on a per unit of production basis without a reduction in the quality or level of service provided to the energy consumer.
(h) "Gross annual retail energy sales" means annual electric sales to all retail customers in a utility's or association's Minnesota service territory or natural gas throughput to all retail customers, including natural gas transportation customers, on a utility's distribution system in Minnesota. For purposes of this section, gross annual retail energy sales exclude
gas sales to
a large energy facility
and gas and
electric sales to a large electric customer facility exempted by the commissioner under subdivision 1a, paragraph (b).
(i) "Investments and expenses of a public utility" includes the investments and expenses incurred by a public utility in connection with an energy conservation improvement, including but not limited to:
(1) the differential in interest cost between the market rate and the rate charged on a no-interest or below-market interest loan made by a public utility to a customer for the purchase or installation of an energy conservation improvement;
(2) the difference between the utility's cost of purchase or installation of energy conservation improvements and any price charged by a public utility to a customer for such improvements.
(j) "Large electric customer facility" means a customer facility that imposes a peak electrical demand on an electric utility's system of not less than 20,000 kilowatts, measured in the same way as the utility that serves the customer facility measures electrical demand for billing purposes, and for which electric services are provided at retail on a single bill by a utility operating in the state.
(k) "Large energy facility" has the meaning given it in section 216B.2421, subdivision 2, clause (1).
(l) "Load management" means an activity, service, or technology to change the timing or the efficiency of a customer's use of energy that allows a utility or a customer to respond to wholesale market fluctuations or to reduce peak demand for energy or capacity.
(m) "Low-income programs" means energy conservation improvement programs that directly serve the needs of low-income persons, including low-income renters.
(n) "Waste heat recovery converted into electricity" means an energy recovery process that converts otherwise lost energy from the heat of exhaust stacks or pipes used for engines or manufacturing or industrial processes, or the reduction of high pressure in water or gas pipelines.
(a) For purposes of this subdivision and subdivision 2, "public utility" has the meaning given it in section 216B.02, subdivision 4. Each public utility shall spend and invest for energy conservation improvements under this subdivision and subdivision 2 the following amounts:
(1) for a utility that furnishes gas service, 0.5 percent of its gross operating revenues from service provided in the state;
(2) for a utility that furnishes electric service, 1.5 percent of its gross operating revenues from service provided in the state; and
(3) for a utility that furnishes electric service and that operates a nuclear-powered electric generating plant within the state, two percent of its gross operating revenues from service provided in the state.
For purposes of this paragraph (a), "gross operating revenues" do not include revenues from large electric customer facilities exempted by the commissioner under paragraph (b).
(b) The owner of a large electric customer facility may petition the commissioner to exempt both electric and gas utilities serving the large energy customer facility from the investment and expenditure requirements of paragraph (a) with respect to retail revenues attributable to the facility. At a minimum, the petition must be supported by evidence relating to competitive or economic pressures on the customer and a showing by the customer of reasonable efforts to identify, evaluate, and implement cost-effective conservation improvements at the facility. If a petition is filed on or before October 1 of any year, the order of the commissioner to exempt revenues attributable to the facility can be effective no earlier than January 1 of the following year. The commissioner shall not grant an exemption if the commissioner determines that granting the exemption is contrary to the public interest. The commissioner may, after investigation, rescind any exemption granted under this paragraph upon a determination that the customer is not continuing to make reasonable efforts to identify, evaluate, and implement energy conservation improvements at the large electric customer facility. For the purposes of investigations by the commissioner under this paragraph, the owner of any large electric customer facility shall, upon request, provide the commissioner with updated information comparable to that originally supplied in or with the owner's original petition under this paragraph.
The commissioner may require investments or spending greater than the amounts required under this subdivision for a public utility whose most recent advance forecast required under section 216B.2422 or 216C.17 projects a peak demand deficit of 100 megawatts or greater within five years under midrange forecast assumptions.
(d) A public utility or owner of a large electric customer facility may appeal a decision of the commissioner under paragraph (b) or (c) to the commission under subdivision 2. In reviewing a decision of the commissioner under paragraph (b) or (c), the commission shall rescind the decision if it finds that the required investments or spending will:
(1) not result in cost-effective energy conservation improvements; or
(2) otherwise not be in the public interest.
(a) The commissioner shall establish energy-saving goals for energy conservation improvement expenditures and shall evaluate an energy conservation improvement program on how well it meets the goals set.
(b) Each individual utility and association shall have an annual energy-savings goal equivalent to 1.5 percent of gross annual retail energy sales unless modified by the commissioner under paragraph (d). The savings goals must be calculated based on the most recent three-year weather normalized average. A utility or association may elect to carry forward energy savings in excess of 1.5 percent for a year to the succeeding three calendar years, except that savings from electric utility infrastructure projects allowed under paragraph (d) may be carried forward for five years. A particular energy savings can be used only for one year's goal.
(c) The commissioner must adopt a filing schedule that is designed to have all utilities and associations operating under an energy-savings plan by calendar year 2010.
(d) In its energy conservation improvement plan filing, a utility or association may request the commissioner to adjust its annual energy-savings percentage goal based on its historical conservation investment experience, customer class makeup, load growth, a conservation potential study, or other factors the commissioner determines warrants an adjustment. The commissioner may not approve a plan that provides for an annual energy-savings goal of less than one percent of gross annual retail energy sales from energy conservation improvements.
A utility or association may include in its energy conservation plan energy savings from electric utility infrastructure projects approved by the commission under section 216B.1636 or waste heat recovery converted into electricity projects that may count as energy savings in addition to the minimum energy-savings goal of at least one percent for energy conservation improvements. Electric utility infrastructure projects must result in increased energy efficiency greater than that which would have occurred through normal maintenance activity.
(e) An energy-savings goal is not satisfied by attaining the revenue expenditure requirements of subdivisions 1a and 1b, but can only be satisfied by meeting the energy-savings goal established in this subdivision.
(f) An association or utility is not required to make energy conservation investments to attain the energy-savings goals of this subdivision that are not cost-effective even if the investment is necessary to attain the energy-savings goals. For the purpose of this paragraph, in determining cost-effectiveness, the commissioner shall consider the costs and benefits to ratepayers, the utility, participants, and society. In addition, the commissioner shall consider the rate at which an association or municipal utility is increasing its energy savings and its expenditures on energy conservation.
(g) On an annual basis, the commissioner shall produce and make publicly available a report on the annual energy savings and estimated carbon dioxide reductions achieved by the energy conservation improvement programs for the two most recent years for which data is available. The commissioner shall report on program performance both in the aggregate and for each entity filing an energy conservation improvement plan for approval or review by the commissioner.
(h) By January 15, 2010, the commissioner shall report to the legislature whether the spending requirements under subdivisions 1a and 1b are necessary to achieve the energy-savings goals established in this subdivision.
(a) The commissioner may require public utilities to make investments and expenditures in energy conservation improvements, explicitly setting forth the interest rates, prices, and terms under which the improvements must be offered to the customers. The required programs must cover no more than a three-year period. Public utilities shall file conservation improvement plans by June 1, on a schedule determined by order of the commissioner, but at least every three years. Plans received by a public utility by June 1 must be approved or approved as modified by the commissioner by December 1 of that same year. The commissioner shall evaluate the program on the basis of cost-effectiveness and the reliability of technologies employed. The commissioner's order must provide to the extent practicable for a free choice, by consumers participating in the program, of the device, method, material, or project constituting the energy conservation improvement and for a free choice of the seller, installer, or contractor of the energy conservation improvement, provided that the device, method, material, or project seller, installer, or contractor is duly licensed, certified, approved, or qualified, including under the residential conservation services program, where applicable.
(b) The commissioner may require a utility to make an energy conservation improvement investment or expenditure whenever the commissioner finds that the improvement will result in energy savings at a total cost to the utility less than the cost to the utility to produce or purchase an equivalent amount of new supply of energy. The commissioner shall nevertheless ensure that every public utility operate one or more programs under periodic review by the department.
(c) Each public utility subject to subdivision 1a may spend and invest annually up to ten percent of the total amount required to be spent and invested on energy conservation improvements under this section by the utility on research and development projects that meet the definition of energy conservation improvement in subdivision 1 and that are funded directly by the public utility.
(d) A public utility may not spend for or invest in energy conservation improvements that directly benefit a large energy facility or a large electric customer facility for which the commissioner has issued an exemption pursuant to subdivision 1a, paragraph (b). The commissioner shall consider and may require a utility to undertake a program suggested by an outside source, including a political subdivision, a nonprofit corporation, or community organization.
(e) A utility, a political subdivision, or a nonprofit or community organization that has suggested a program, the attorney general acting on behalf of consumers and small business interests, or a utility customer that has suggested a program and is not represented by the attorney general under section 8.33 may petition the commission to modify or revoke a department decision under this section, and the commission may do so if it determines that the program is not cost-effective, does not adequately address the residential conservation improvement needs of low-income persons, has a long-range negative effect on one or more classes of customers, or is otherwise not in the public interest. The commission shall reject a petition that, on its face, fails to make a reasonable argument that a program is not in the public interest.
(f) The commissioner may order a public utility to include, with the filing of the utility's proposed conservation improvement plan under paragraph (a), the results of an independent audit of the utility's conservation improvement programs and expenditures performed by the department or an auditor with experience in the provision of energy conservation and energy efficiency services approved by the commissioner and chosen by the utility. The audit must specify the energy savings or increased efficiency in the use of energy within the service territory of the utility that is the result of the spending and investments. The audit must evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the utility's conservation programs.
(a) By November 1 of each odd-numbered year, a transmission projects report must be submitted to the commission by each utility, organization, or company that:
(1) is a public utility, a municipal utility, a cooperative electric association, the generation and transmission organization that serves each utility or association, or a transmission company; and
(2) owns or operates electric transmission lines in Minnesota.
(b) The report may be submitted jointly or individually to the commission.
(c) The report must:
(1) list specific present and reasonably foreseeable future inadequacies in the transmission system in Minnesota;
(2) identify alternative means of addressing each inadequacy listed;
(3) identify general economic, environmental, and social issues associated with each alternative; and
(4) provide a summary of public input related to the list of inadequacies and the role of local government officials and other interested persons in assisting to develop the list and analyze alternatives.
(d) To meet the requirements of this subdivision, reporting parties may rely on available information and analysis developed by a regional transmission organization or any subgroup of a regional transmission organization and may develop and include additional information as necessary.
It shall be unlawful for any public utility organized under the laws of this state to offer or sell any security or, if organized under the laws of any other state or foreign country, to subject property in this state to an encumbrance for the purpose of securing the payment of any indebtedness unless the security issuance of the public utility shall first be approved by the commission. Approval by the commission shall be by formal written order.
Whenever the commission or department, in a proceeding upon its own motion, on complaint, or upon an application to it, shall deem it necessary, in order to carry out the duties imposed under this chapter and section 216A.085 (1) to investigate the books, accounts, practices, and activities of, or make appraisals of the property of, any public utility, (2) to render any engineering or accounting services to any public utility, or (3) to intervene before an energy regulatory agency, the public utility shall pay the expenses reasonably attributable to the investigation, appraisal, service, or intervention. The commission and department shall ascertain the expenses, and the department shall render a bill therefor to the public utility, either at the conclusion of the investigation, appraisal, or services, or from time to time during its progress, which bill shall constitute notice of the assessment and a demand for payment. The amount of the bills so rendered by the department shall be paid by the public utility into the state treasury within 30 days from the date of rendition. The total amount, in any one calendar year, for which any public utility shall become liable, by reason of costs incurred by the commission within that calendar year, shall not exceed two-fifths of one percent of the gross operating revenue from retail sales of gas, or electric service by the public utility within the state in the last preceding calendar year. Where, pursuant to this subdivision, costs are incurred within any calendar year which are in excess of two-fifths of one percent of the gross operating revenues, the excess costs shall not be chargeable as part of the remainder under subdivision 3, but shall be paid out of the general appropriation to the department and commission. In the case of public utilities offering more than one public utility service only the gross operating revenues from the public utility service in connection with which the investigation is being conducted shall be considered when determining this limitation.
The department and commission shall quarterly, at least 30 days before the start of each quarter, estimate the total of their expenditures in the performance of their duties relating to public utilities under sections 216A.085 and 216B.01 to 216B.67, other than amounts chargeable to public utilities under subdivision 2, 6, 7, or 8. The remainder shall be assessed by the commission and department to the several public utilities in proportion to their respective gross operating revenues from retail sales of gas or electric service within the state during the last calendar year. The assessment shall be paid into the state treasury within 30 days after the bill has been transmitted via mail, personal delivery, or electronic service to the several public utilities, which shall constitute notice of the assessment and demand of payment thereof. The total amount which may be assessed to the public utilities, under authority of this subdivision, shall not exceed one-sixth of one percent of the total gross operating revenues of the public utilities during the calendar year from retail sales of gas or electric service within the state. The assessment for the third quarter of each fiscal year shall be adjusted to compensate for the amount by which actual expenditures by the commission and department for the preceding fiscal year were more or less than the estimated expenditures previously assessed.
The commissioner shall establish an Energy Information Center in the department's offices in St. Paul. The information center shall maintain a toll-free telephone information service and disseminate printed materials on energy conservation topics, including but not limited to, availability of loans and other public and private financing methods for energy conservation physical improvements, the techniques and materials used to conserve energy in buildings, including retrofitting or upgrading insulation and installing weatherstripping, the projected prices and availability of different sources of energy, and alternative sources of energy.
The Energy Information Center shall serve as the official Minnesota Alcohol Fuels Information Center and shall disseminate information, printed, by the toll-free telephone information service, or otherwise on the applicability and technology of alcohol fuels.
The information center shall include information on the potential hazards of energy conservation techniques and improvements in the printed materials disseminated. The commissioner shall not be liable for damages arising from the installation or operation of equipment or materials recommended by the information center.
The information center shall use the information collected under section 216C.02, subdivision 1, to maintain a central source of information on conservation and other energy-related programs, including both programs required by law or rule and programs developed and carried on voluntarily. In particular, the information center shall compile and maintain information on policies covering disconnections or denials of fuel during cold weather adopted by public utilities and other fuel suppliers not governed by section 216B.096 or 216B.097, including the number of households disconnected or denied fuel and the duration of the disconnections or denials.
The department is the state agency to apply for, receive, and disburse money made available to the state by federal law for the purpose of weatherizing the residences of low-income persons. The commissioner must coordinate available federal money with state money appropriated for this purpose.
The commissioner must make grants of federal and state money to community action agencies and other public or private nonprofit agencies for the purpose of weatherizing the residences of low-income persons. Grant applications must be submitted in accordance with rules promulgated by the commissioner.
In the case of any grant made to an owner of a rental dwelling unit for weatherization, the commissioner must require that (1) the benefits of weatherization assistance in connection with the dwelling unit accrue primarily to the low-income family that resides in the unit; (2) the rents on the dwelling unit will not be raised because of any increase in value due solely to the weatherization assistance; and (3) no undue or excessive enhancement will occur to the value of the dwelling unit.
The commissioner must promulgate rules that describe procedures for the administration of grants, data to be reported by grant recipients, and compliance with relevant federal regulations. The commissioner must require that a rental unit weatherized under this section be rented to a household meeting the income limits of the program for 24 of the 36 months after weatherization is complete. In applying this restriction to multiunit buildings weatherized under this section, the commissioner must require that occupancy continue to reflect the proportion of eligible households in the building at the time of weatherization.
The commissioner must distribute supplementary state grants in a manner consistent with the goal of producing the maximum number of weatherized units. Supplementary state grants are provided primarily for the payment of additional labor costs for the federal weatherization program, and as an incentive for the increased production of weatherized units.
Criteria for the allocation of state grants to local agencies include existing local agency production levels, emergency needs, and the potential for maintaining or increasing acceptable levels of production in the area.
An eligible local agency may receive advance funding for 90 days' production, but thereafter must receive grants solely on the basis of program criteria.
To the extent allowed by federal regulations, the commissioner must ensure that the same income eligibility criteria apply to both the weatherization program and the energy assistance program.
The commission shall finance its baseline studies, general environmental studies, development of criteria, inventory preparation, monitoring of conditions placed on site and route permits, and all other work, other than specific site and route designation, from an assessment made quarterly, at least 30 days before the start of each quarter, by the commission against all utilities with annual retail kilowatt-hour sales greater than 4,000,000 kilowatt-hours in the previous calendar year.
Each share shall be determined as follows: (1) the ratio that the annual retail kilowatt-hour sales in the state of each utility bears to the annual total retail kilowatt-hour sales in the state of all these utilities, multiplied by 0.667, plus (2) the ratio that the annual gross revenue from retail kilowatt-hour sales in the state of each utility bears to the annual total gross revenues from retail kilowatt-hour sales in the state of all these utilities, multiplied by 0.333, as determined by the commission. The assessment shall be credited to the special revenue fund and shall be paid to the state treasury within 30 days after receipt of the bill, which shall constitute notice of said assessment and demand of payment thereof. The total amount which may be assessed to the several utilities under authority of this subdivision shall not exceed the sum of the annual budget of the commission for carrying out the purposes of this subdivision. The assessment for the second quarter of each fiscal year shall be adjusted to compensate for the amount by which actual expenditures by the commission for the preceding fiscal year were more or less than the estimated expenditures previously assessed.
The prohibitions in subdivision 3 do not apply to:
(1) a new large energy facility under consideration by the Public Utilities Commission pursuant to proposals or applications filed with the Public Utilities Commission before April 1, 2007, or to any power purchase agreement related to a facility described in this clause. The exclusion of pending proposals and applications from the prohibitions in subdivision 3 does not limit the applicability of any other law and is not an expression of legislative intent regarding whether any pending proposal or application should be approved or denied;
(2) a contract not subject to commission approval that was entered into prior to April 1, 2007, to purchase power from a new large energy facility that was approved by a comparable authority in another state prior to that date, for which municipal or public power district bonds have been issued, and on which construction has begun; or
(3) a new large energy facility or a power purchase agreement between a Minnesota utility and a new large energy facility located outside Minnesota that the Public Utilities Commission has determined is essential to ensure the long-term reliability of Minnesota's electric system, to allow electric service for increased industrial demand, or to avoid placing a substantial financial burden on Minnesota ratepayers. An order of the commission granting an exemption under this clause is stayed until the June 1 following the next regular or annual session of the legislature that begins after the date of the commission's final order
Presented to the governor May 24, 2011
Signed by the governor May 27, 2011, 10:33 a.m.