216B.17 COMPLAINT INVESTIGATION AND HEARING.
Subdivision 1. Investigation.
On its own motion or upon a complaint made against any
public utility, by the governing body of any political subdivision, by another public utility, by the
department, or by any 50 consumers of the particular utility that any of the rates, tolls, tariffs,
charges, or schedules or any joint rate or any regulation, measurement, practice, act, or omission
affecting or relating to the production, transmission, delivery, or furnishing of natural gas or
electricity or any service in connection therewith is in any respect unreasonable, insufficient, or
unjustly discriminatory, or that any service is inadequate or cannot be obtained, the commission
shall proceed, with notice, to make such investigation as it may deem necessary. The commission
may dismiss any complaint without a hearing if in its opinion a hearing is not in the public interest.
Subd. 2. Notice of complaint.
The commission shall, prior to any formal hearing, notify the
public utility complained of that a complaint has been made, and ten days after the notice has
been given the commission may proceed to set a time and place for a hearing and an investigation
as provided in this section.
Subd. 3. Notice of hearing.
The commission shall give the public utility and the complainant
ten days' notice of the time and place when and where the hearing will be held and the matters to
be considered and determined. Both the public utility and complainant are entitled to be heard and
to be represented by counsel. A hearing under this section is not a contested case under chapter 14.
Subd. 4. Notice to local governments and interested persons.
Notice shall also be given
to the governing bodies of affected municipalities and counties, and to any other persons the
commission shall deem necessary.
Subd. 5. Combined notice.
The notice provided for in subdivisions 2 and 3 may be
combined but if combined the notice shall not be less than ten days.
Subd. 6. Complaint petition.
The commission shall have the power to hear, determine, and
adjust complaints made against any municipally owned gas or electric utility with respect to
rates and services upon petition of ten percent of the nonresident consumers of the municipally
owned utility or 25 such nonresident consumers whichever is less. The hearing of the complaints
shall be governed by this section.
Subd. 6a. Cooperative electric associations.
For the purposes of this section, public utility
shall include cooperative electric associations with respect to service standards and practices only.
Subd. 7. Evidence.
shall be applicable to all contested cases before the
Subd. 8. Further action by commission.
If after making an investigation under subdivision
1 and holding a hearing under this section, the commission finds that all significant factual issues
raised have not been resolved to its satisfaction:
(1) for investigations concerning the reasonableness of rates of a public utility, if the
commission is unable to resolve the complaint with the utility, the commission may order the
utility to initiate a rate proceeding under section
, provided, however, that the utility must
be allowed at least 120 days after the date of the commission's order to initiate the proceeding; and
(2) for investigations of other matters, the commission shall order that a contested case
proceeding be conducted under chapter 14.
History: 1974 c 429 s 17; 1978 c 795 s 4; 1980 c 614 s 113; 1982 c 424 s 130; 1990 c
370 s 4-6