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Table of Sections
216A.06Repealed, 1Sp2001 c 4 art 6 s 76
216A.10Renumbered 174.60
216A.11Renumbered 174.61
216A.12Renumbered 174.62
216A.13Renumbered 174.63
The Department of Commerce shall have and possess all of the rights and powers and
perform all of the duties vested in it by this chapter. The Public Utilities Commission shall have
and possess all of the rights and powers and perform all of the duties vested in it by this chapter
and those formerly vested by law in the Railroad and Warehouse Commission.
History: 1967 c 864 s 1; 1969 c 1031 s 1; 1980 c 614 s 103; 1Sp2001 c 4 art 6 s 27
    Subdivision 1. Scope. For the purposes of this chapter, the terms defined in this section have
the meanings given them.
    Subd. 2. Legislative function. "Legislative function" means the establishment and
promulgation of all rules, orders and directives of general or particular applicability, governing
the conduct of the regulated persons or businesses, together with such investigative procedures as
are incident thereto and all other valid acts and procedures which are historically or functionally
legislative in character.
    Subd. 3. Administrative function. "Administrative function" means all duties and
procedures concerning the execution and enforcement of the laws, rules, orders, directives, duties,
and obligations imposed for the control and government of the persons or businesses regulated,
together with investigative activities incident thereto and procedures inherently administrative
or executive in character.
    Subd. 4. Quasi-judicial function. "Quasi-judicial function" means the promulgation of all
orders and directives of particular applicability governing the conduct of the regulated persons or
businesses, together with procedures inherently judicial.
History: 1967 c 864 s 2; 1977 c 364 s 1
    Subdivision 1. Members. The Public Utilities Commission shall consist of five members.
The terms of members shall be six years and until their successors have been appointed and
qualified. Each commissioner shall be appointed by the governor by and with the advice and
consent of the senate. Not more than three commissioners shall belong to the same political party.
At least one commissioner must have been domiciled at the time of appointment outside the
seven-county metropolitan area. If the membership of the commission after July 31, 1986, does
not consist of at least one member domiciled at the time of appointment outside the seven-county
metropolitan area, the membership shall conform to this requirement following normal attrition of
the present commissioners. The governor when selecting commissioners shall give consideration
to persons learned in the law or persons who have engaged in the profession of engineering,
public accounting, property and utility valuation, finance, physical or natural sciences, production
agriculture, or natural resources as well as being representative of the general public.
For purposes of this subdivision, "seven-county metropolitan area" means Anoka, Carver,
Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington Counties.
    Subd. 1a. Removal; vacancy. The removal of members, and filling of vacancies on the
commission shall be as provided in section 15.0575.
    Subd. 2.[Repealed, 1976 c 134 s 79]
    Subd. 3. Chair. The governor shall select one of the commissioners to serve as the chair for
a term concurrent with that of the governor.
If a vacancy occurs in the position of chair, the governor shall select a new chair to complete
the unexpired term.
    Subd. 3a. Powers and duties of chair. The chair shall be the principal executive officer of
the commission and shall preside at meetings of the commission. The chair shall organize the
work of the commission and may make assignments to commission members, appoint committees
and give direction to the commission staff through the executive secretary subject to the approval
of the commission.
    Subd. 4. Oath. Before entering upon the duties of office, each commissioner shall take and
file with the secretary of state the following oath:
"I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution
of this state; that I will faithfully discharge my duties as commissioner of the Public Utilities
Commission according to the best of my ability; and that I am not in the employ of or holding any
official relation to or pecuniarily interested in any individual proprietorship, firm, copartnership,
corporation or association, the activities of which are wholly or partially subject to regulation by
the Public Utilities Commission; nor do I serve on or under any committee of any political party."
    Subd. 5. Quorum. A majority of the commission shall constitute a quorum, and the act or
decision of a majority of commissioners present, if at least a quorum is present, shall be the act or
decision of the commission. If a vacancy exists on the commission a majority of the remaining
commissioners constitutes a quorum.
    Subd. 6. Record of proceedings. An audio magnetic recording device shall be used to keep
a record of all proceedings before the commission unless the commission provides a hearing
reporter to record the proceeding.
    Subd. 7. Filing approved without hearing. A filing with the commission may be deemed
approved by the commission after 60 days of filing, unless the commission, a commissioner, or
any other person requests the filing be set aside for action by the commission. The commission
may designate, by standing order, categories or types of filings that are eligible for approval under
this subdivision. Complaint filings, petitions for rulemakings, or petitions to increase rates are
not eligible for designation. The commission must publish a weekly notice of the filings that are
approved without other action by the commission, and shall issue a written order approving
the filing upon passage of the 60-day term. Orders approved under this subdivision are subject
to reconsideration, as provided in section 216B.27 or the commission's rules of practice and
procedure, and nothing in this subdivision affects the rights of any entity under section 216B.17
or 237.081.
    Subd. 8. Delegations to commission subcommittees. (a) The commission may create and
appoint members to standing or ad hoc subcommittees of the commission consisting of at least
one commissioner. The commission, at a regularly scheduled agenda hearing, may delegate any
of the commission's legislative, administrative, or quasi-judicial functions, as defined in section
216A.02, to a subcommittee of the commission.
(b) Upon objection by a party, a participant, or a commissioner, a decision by a subcommittee
must be referred to the full commission. Subcommittee decisions for which no objection is filed
with the commission within ten days from the date of receipt of the written decision of the
subcommittee are deemed decisions of the full commission. If referred to the full commission,
the full commission may rely on the record developed by the subcommittee but shall treat the
subcommittee decision as advisory.
(c) In either their initial or reply filings with the commission, a party or a participant may
request that the commission not delegate the proceeding to a commission subcommittee. The
request must be granted.
(d) For the purposes of this subdivision:
(1) a "party" means a person by or against whom a proceeding before the commission is
commenced or a person permitted to intervene in a proceeding under this chapter; and
(2) a "participant" means a person who files comments or appears to present views without
becoming a party in a proceeding, other than public hearings held in contested cases and other
commission proceedings conducted to receive general public comments.
    Subd. 9. Lead commissioner; designation, powers, duties. The commission may
designate a commissioner to be the lead commissioner for a docket, a type of docket, or for a
particular subject area. The commission shall allow interested persons to be heard on a proposed
designation prior to making the designation. The lead commissioner is authorized to exercise the
commission's authority to develop an evidentiary record for a proceeding, including holding
hearings and requesting written or oral comments. At the request of the commission, the lead
commissioner shall provide the commission and the service list for the proceeding with a
written summary of the evidentiary record developed by the lead commissioner for the case,
including any recommendations of the commissioner. Any findings of fact, conclusions of law,
or recommendations of the lead commissioner are advisory only and are not binding on the
commission. The commission may delegate its authority to designate lead commissioners to
the chair. Nothing in this subdivision affects a person's opportunity to request a contested case
proceeding under chapter 14.
History: 1967 c 864 s 3; 1974 c 429 s 65; 1976 c 134 s 50,51; 1977 c 364 s 2; 1980 c 614
s 104,105,123; 1986 c 409 s 1,2; 1986 c 444; 1994 c 641 art 4 s 1; 1999 c 125 s 1-4; 2002
c 398 s 7; 1Sp2005 c 1 art 4 s 124
(a) No person, while a member of the Public Utilities Commission, while acting as executive
secretary of the commission, or while employed in a professional capacity by the commission,
shall receive any income, other than dividends or other earnings from a mutual fund or trust if
these earnings do not constitute a significant portion of the person's income, directly or indirectly
from any public utility or other organization subject to regulation by the commission.
(b) No person is eligible to be appointed as a member of the commission if the person
has been employed with an entity, or an affiliated company of an entity, that is subject to
rate regulation by the commission within one year from the date when the person's term on
the commission will begin.
(c) No person who is an employee of the Department of Commerce shall participate in
any manner in any decision or action of the commission where that person has a direct or
indirect financial interest. Each commissioner or employee of the department who is in the
general professional, supervisory, or technical units established in section 179A.10 or who is a
professional, supervisory, or technical employee defined as confidential in section 179A.03,
subdivision 4
, or who is a management classification employee and whose duties are related to
public utility, telephone company, or telecommunications company regulation shall report to the
Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board annually before April 15 any interest in an
industry or business regulated by the commission. Each commissioner shall file a statement
of economic interest as required by section 10A.09 with the Campaign Finance and Public
Disclosure Board and the Public Utilities Commission before taking office. The statement of
economic interest must state any interest that the commissioner has in an industry or business
regulated by the commission.
(d) A professional employee of the commission or department must immediately disclose
to the commission or to the commissioner of the department, respectively, any communication,
direct or indirect, with a person who is a party to a pending proceeding before the commission
regarding future benefits, compensation, or employment to be received from that person.
History: 1974 c 429 s 66; 1979 c 206 s 1; 1980 c 614 s 123; 1981 c 210 s 51; 1984 c 462 s
27; 1986 c 409 s 3; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 186 s 15; 1997 c 202 art 2 s 63; 1Sp2001 c 4 art 6 s 28
(a) A person who serves as (1) a commissioner of the Public Utilities Commission, (2)
commissioner of commerce, or (3) deputy commissioner of commerce, shall not, while employed
with or within one year after leaving the commission or department, accept employment with,
receive compensation directly or indirectly from, or enter into a contractual relationship with an
entity, or an affiliated company of an entity, that is subject to rate regulation by the commission.
(b) An entity or an affiliated company of an entity that is subject to rate regulation by the
commission, or a person acting on behalf of the entity, shall not negotiate or offer to employ or
compensate a commissioner of the Public Utilities Commission, the commissioner of commerce,
or the deputy commissioner of commerce, while the person is so employed or within one year
after the person leaves that employment.
(c) For the purposes of this section, "affiliated company" means a company that controls,
is controlled by, or is under common control with an entity subject to rate regulation by the
(d) A person who violates this section is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000
for each violation. The attorney general may bring an action in district court to collect the
penalties provided in this section.
History: 1986 c 409 s 4; 1987 c 186 s 15; 1Sp2001 c 4 art 6 s 29
    Subdivision 1. Ex parte communications prohibitions; rules. (a) The commission shall
adopt rules under chapter 14 prescribing permissible and impermissible ex parte communications.
The ex parte rules may prohibit only ex parte communications, directly or indirectly, between a
commissioner and a participant or party under the commission's rules of practice and procedure
relating to:
(1) a material issue during a pending contested case proceeding;
(2) a material issue in a rulemaking proceeding after the beginning of commission
(3) a material issue in a disputed formal petition; and
(4) any other communication impermissible by law.
(b) The commission may apply ex parte prohibitions, prospectively and after notice to
affected parties, to other commission proceedings as the commission deems necessary.
(c) A contested case is pending from the time the commission refers the matter to the Office
of Administrative Hearings until the commission has issued its final order, and the time to petition
for reconsideration has expired or the commission has issued an order finally disposing an
application for reconsideration, whichever is later.
    Subd. 2. Conflict-of-interest communications prohibited. A commissioner shall not
communicate, directly or indirectly, with a person or entity who is a party to a pending proceeding
before the commission regarding past or future benefits or compensation to be received from
that person or entity. The commission may dismiss a proceeding if an applicant, petitioner, or
complainant violates this subdivision.
    Subd. 3. Code of conduct rules. Except as limited by subdivision 1, the commission shall
adopt rules prescribing a code of conduct for commissioners and employees of the commission.
The code of conduct must include standards to preserve the quasi-judicial function of the
    Subd. 4. Complaint procedure; hearing; sanctions. (a) Any person seeking sanctions
for alleged violations of the rules adopted under this section may file a complaint with the
(b) A complaint seeking sanctions must include the following information: the name and
address of the complainant; the name and address of complainant's counsel, if any; the name and
address of each person alleged to have violated the ex parte prohibition (respondents); the name
and address of each respondent's counsel, if known; the facts constituting the alleged violation;
and the sanctions sought by the complainant.
(c) A complaint filed under this section must be filed with the commission and mailed to
each respondent, the department, the Office of the Attorney General, and all persons on the
commission's service list for the proceeding.
(d) Within seven days of service of the complaint, a respondent shall file an answer with the
commission and serve it on the complainant, the department, the Office of the Attorney General,
and all persons on the commission's service list for the proceeding.
(e) The commission shall refer the complaint and any reply to the Office of Administrative
(f) The administrative law judge assigned to the ex parte complaint proceeding by the Office
of Administrative Hearings shall conduct a hearing investigation and shall issue a report within 30
days after the matter is referred. If the administrative law judge determines that the report cannot
be properly completed within that time period, the judge shall report that fact to the commission
within the 30-day period and shall file a final report within a reasonable time thereafter, no later
than 60 days after the referral to the Office of Administrative Hearings.
(g) The report of the administrative law judge shall describe the relevant facts of the case
and shall set forth the judge's findings as to whether ex parte violations occurred. The findings
and decisions of the judge as to whether ex parte violations have occurred are binding on the
commission. The judge shall also discuss and make recommendations regarding the imposition of
sanctions in accordance with paragraph (h). The judge shall include in the report a discussion of
the recusal of any commissioner or the removal of decision-making personnel from this case.
(h) In the report under paragraph (g), the administrative law judge may only recommend
that the commission impose one of the following sanctions if the judge finds that the condition
specified for the sanction is met:
(1) dismiss the proceeding if the prohibited ex parte communication has so prejudiced the
proceeding that the commission cannot consider it impartially;
(2) issue an adverse ruling on a pending issue that is the subject of the prohibited ex parte
communication if other parties are prejudiced by the prohibited ex parte communication;
(3) strike evidence or pleadings if the evidence or pleadings are tainted by the prohibited
ex parte communication; or
(4) issue a public statement of censure, if the prohibited ex parte communication is
determined to be part of a continuing pattern of improper ex parte communication or if the
prohibited ex parte violation consists of a single prohibited communication and mitigating
circumstances exist that:
(i) negate the need for a more severe sanction;
(ii) do not prejudice the proceeding to the extent that the commission is unable to consider it
(iii) do not prejudice other parties; or
(iv) do not taint the evidence or pleadings.
(i) If the administrative law judge finds the complainant's allegation of an ex parte violation
was interposed for any improper purpose, such as to harass or cause unnecessary delay or needless
increase in the cost of the proceeding, the judge may recommend that the commission issue an
appropriate sanction against the complainant.
History: 1986 c 409 s 5; 1996 c 305 art 2 s 37; 2000 c 487 s 1; 2007 c 88 s 1
    Subdivision 1. Selection of executive secretary. The commission shall appoint an executive
secretary, not a member, who shall be in the unclassified service of the state and shall serve at
the pleasure of the commission. The executive secretary shall take, subscribe, and file an oath
similar to that required of the commissioners, and shall be subject to the same disqualifications as
    Subd. 1a. Powers and duties of executive secretary. The executive secretary shall:
(1) cause to be kept full and correct records of all transactions and proceedings of the
(2) appoint, subject to chapter 43A and the approval of the commission, all other classified
employees of the commission and supervise and direct their activities;
(3) have custody of the seal of the commission;
(4) serve as the administrative officer of the commission with responsibility for personnel,
budget and other administrative details related to the work of the commission or as required by
state law;
(5) prepare orders, reports, and other materials as assigned by the commission and
recommend to the commission such measures as may be appropriate to achieve the objectives
of the commission;
(6) advise the commission of its financial position and recommend a budget for its approval;
(7) perform other duties as the commission directs.
    Subd. 2. Acting secretary. The commission may designate any responsible employee to
serve as acting secretary in the absence of the secretary.
    Subd. 3. Officers and employees. The commission may establish other positions in the
unclassified service if the positions meet the criteria of section 43A.08, subdivision 1a, clauses (1)
to (7). The commission may employ other persons as may be necessary to carry out its functions.
    Subd. 4. Transcripts of proceedings. Hearing reporters may provide transcripts of
proceedings before the commission to persons requesting transcripts who pay a reasonable charge
therefor to the reporter. The amount of the charge shall be fixed by the commission and retained
by the reporter, any other law to the contrary notwithstanding.
History: 1967 c 864 s 4; 1971 c 74 s 1; 1971 c 646 s 1; 1973 c 35 s 44; 1980 c 614 s
106-108; 1981 c 210 s 54; 1982 c 560 s 51
    Subdivision 1. Legislative and quasi-judicial functions. The functions of the commission
shall be legislative and quasi-judicial in nature. It may make such investigations and
determinations, hold such hearings, prescribe such rules, and issue such orders with respect to
the control and conduct of the businesses coming within its jurisdiction as the legislature itself
might make but only as it shall from time to time authorize. It may adjudicate all proceedings
brought before it in which the violation of any law or rule administered by the Department of
Commerce is alleged.
    Subd. 2. Powers generally. The commission shall, to the extent prescribed by law:
(1) investigate the management of all warehouse operators and telegraph companies, the
manner in which their businesses are conducted and the adequacies of the services which they are
affording to the public, and make all appropriate orders relating to the continuation, termination,
or modification of all services and facilities with a view to properly promoting the security and
convenience of the public;
(2) review and ascertain the reasonableness of tariffs of rates, fares, and charges, or any part
or classification thereof, and prescribe the form and manner of filing, posting, and publication
(3) prescribe uniform systems of keeping and rendering accounts and the time within which
such systems shall be adopted;
(4) order the issuance of franchises, permits or certificates of convenience and necessity.
    Subd. 3. Manner of fact finding. The commission may:
(1) subpoena, in the same manner a district court summons is served, at such time and place
as it may designate, any books, papers, or accounts kept by any regulated business within or
without the state, or compel production of verified copies in lieu thereof;
(2) prepare all forms or blanks for the purpose of obtaining information which it may deem
necessary or useful in the proper exercise of its authority and duties in connection with regulated
businesses, and prescribe the time and manner within which such blanks and forms shall be
completed and filed with it;
(3) inspect, at all reasonable times, and copy the books, records, memoranda, correspondence,
or other documents and records of any business under its jurisdiction;
(4) examine, under oath, any officer, agent, or employee thereof in relation to its business
and affairs.
    Subd. 4. Performance of commission functions. The commission shall exercise each and
every legislative function imposed by law on it.
    Subd. 5. Hearing upon petition. With respect to those matters within its jurisdiction the
commission shall receive, hear, and determine all petitions filed with it in accordance with the
rules of practice and procedure promulgated by the commission, and may investigate, hold
hearings, and make determinations upon its own motion to the same extent, and in every instance,
in which it may do so upon petition.
    Subd. 6. Operation with regard to federal law. The commission is authorized:
(1) to cooperate with all federal agencies for the purpose of harmonizing state and federal
regulations within the state to the extent and in the manner deemed advisable;
(2) to conduct joint hearings with any federal agency or commission within or without
the state and participate in any proceedings before any federal agency or commission when it
considers such participation advisable and in the interest of the people of this state;
(3) to nominate members to any joint board as provided by federal acts.
History: 1967 c 864 s 5; 1969 c 1031 s 2; 1971 c 25 s 67; 1976 c 166 s 10; 1977 c 346 s 11;
1977 c 364 s 3; 1980 c 614 s 109,110; 1986 c 444; 1986 c 468 s 2; 1Sp2001 c 4 art 6 s 30
216A.06 [Repealed, 1Sp2001 c 4 art 6 s 76]
    Subdivision 1. Commissioner duties. The commissioner of commerce has all the rights and
powers and shall perform all the duties set forth in this chapter. The commissioner may:
(1) prepare all forms or blanks for the purpose of obtaining information which the
commissioner may deem necessary or useful in the proper exercise of the authority and duties
of the commissioner in connection with regulated businesses;
(2) prescribe the time and manner within which forms or blanks shall be filed with the
(3) inspect at all reasonable times, and copy the books, records, memoranda, and
correspondence or other documents and records of any person relating to any regulated business;
(4) cause the deposition to be taken of any person concerning the business and affairs of
any business regulated by the department. Information sought through said deposition shall
be for a lawfully authorized purpose and shall be relevant and material to the investigation or
hearing before the commission. Information obtained from said deposition shall be used by the
department only for a lawfully authorized purpose and pursuant to powers and responsibilities
conferred upon the department. Said deposition is to be taken in the manner prescribed by law for
taking depositions in civil actions in the district court.
    Subd. 2. Enforcement. The commissioner is responsible for the enforcement of chapters
216A, 216B and 237 and the orders of the commission issued pursuant to those chapters.
    Subd. 3. Intervention in commission proceeding. The commissioner may intervene as a
party in all proceedings before the commission. When intervening in gas or electric hearings, the
commissioner shall prepare and defend testimony designed to encourage energy conservation
improvements as defined in section 216B.241. The attorney general shall act as counsel in the
    Subd. 4. Investigation. The commissioner may, on the commissioner's own initiative,
investigate any matter subject to the jurisdiction of the department or commission.
    Subd. 5. Rulemaking. The commissioner shall make substantive and procedural rules to
implement the provisions of this chapter and chapters 216B and 237. Rules adopted under this
authority shall be promulgated pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act and shall have
the force and effect of law.
    Subd. 6. Mission; efficiency; legislative report, recommendations. It is part of the
department's mission that within the department's resources the commissioner shall endeavor to:
(1) prevent the waste or unnecessary spending of public money;
(2) use innovative fiscal and human resource practices to manage the state's resources and
operate the department as efficiently as possible;
(3) coordinate the department's activities wherever appropriate with the activities of other
governmental agencies;
(4) use technology where appropriate to increase agency productivity, improve customer
service, increase public access to information about government, and increase public participation
in the business of government;
(5) utilize constructive and cooperative labor-management practices to the extent otherwise
required by chapters 43A and 179A;
(6) report to the legislature on the performance of agency operations and the accomplishment
of agency goals in the agency's biennial budget according to section 16A.10, subdivision 1; and
(7) recommend to the legislature appropriate changes in law necessary to carry out the
mission and improve the performance of the department.
History: 1967 c 864 s 7; 1969 c 1031 s 3; 1976 c 166 s 12; 1977 c 364 s 4; 1980 c 614 s
111; 1983 c 179 s 3; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 186 s 15; 1995 c 248 art 11 s 16; 1998 c 366 s 62;
1Sp2001 c 4 art 6 s 31
All valid rules, orders, and directives heretofore enforced, issued, or promulgated by the
Public Service Department under authority of chapter 216, 216A, 216B, 216C, 218, 219, 221,
222, 237, 238, or 239 shall remain and continue in force and effect until repealed, modified, or
superseded by duly authorized rules, orders, or directives of the Public Utilities Commission, the
commissioner of transportation, or the commissioner of commerce.
History: 1967 c 864 s 8; 1976 c 166 s 13; 1980 c 614 s 123; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1Sp2001 c 4
art 6 s 32
    Subdivision 1. Creation. There is created within the Department of Commerce an
Intervention Office to represent the interests of Minnesota residents, businesses, and governments
before bodies and agencies outside the state that make, interpret, or implement national and
international energy policy.
    Subd. 2. Duties. The Intervention Office shall determine those areas in which state
intervention is most needed, most likely to have a positive impact, and most effective for the
broad public interest of the state. The office shall seek recommendations from appropriate public
and private sources before deciding which cases merit intervention.
    Subd. 3. Staffing. The Intervention Office shall be under the control and supervision of the
commissioner of commerce. The commissioner may hire staff or contract for outside services as
needed to carry out the purposes of this section. The attorney general shall act as counsel in all
intervention proceedings.
History: 1983 c 289 s 103; 1987 c 186 s 15; 1Sp2001 c 4 art 6 s 33,77
216A.09 ACTIONS.
The commission may sue or be sued in its own name.
History: 1967 c 864 s 9
Nothing in this chapter prevents the department or the commission from entering into
agreements with each other or with other agencies to coordinate and share services, to conduct
joint projects or investigations on matters within the authority and jurisdiction of the parties
thereto, or to temporarily assign staff to projects requested by each other or by other agencies.
The cooperative agreements may provide for the sharing of costs between the parties thereto or
the reimbursement of the department or commission operating budget for expenditures made on
behalf of the department or commission or agency. No cooperative effort shall interfere with the
independence and integrity of either the commission or the department or any other agency
that is a party.
History: 1980 c 614 s 112
216A.10 [Renumbered 174.60]
216A.11 [Renumbered 174.61]
216A.12 [Renumbered 174.62]
216A.13 [Renumbered 174.63]

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Revisor of Statutes