Minnesota governor vetoes bill that would have exempted electric utilities from PUC regulation

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email
Dayton cited fair access and safeguarding the interests of utility customers among his reasons for the highly-commended result. Source: Flickr/mrbill

Minnesota governor Mark Dayton has vetoed anti-solar bill HF234/SF141 that would have removed the authority of the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to settle certain electric utility disputes.

Among several reasons for the veto, Dayton expressed a desire to not weaken the PUC’s authority:

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

“The PUC plays an essential role in Minnesota, safeguarding the interests of Minnesota utility customers now and in the future. As Legislators consider additional proposals regarding the PUC this session, they should know that I will not accept any bill that limits or weakens the Commission's authority to protect the interests of Minnesota's energy consumers. I will, however, consider any serious proposal to improve the functioning of this essential public body,” he wrote in a letter to state representative Kurt Daudt, citing an earlier statement from February.

Instead of the PUC regulating, the bill directed that disputes over solar fees would be mediated by an independent party, rather than the PUC.

“The PUC uniquely retains the expertise in energy issues needed to fairly resolve these disputes. While the bill allows for third-party mediation to resolve disputes, it does not provide any guidance on how this mediation would work,” wrote Dayton, doubting the feasibility of the bill’s proposal.

The bill would have also rendered municipal utilities exempt from PUC jurisdiction with respect to resolving net metering disputes, giving rise to potentially higher fees to be imposed without the necessary regulatory safeguarding.

“This legislation would create uncertainty for all municipal and cooperative electric utility customers seeking to produce their own renewable and efficient energy. It could impact economic  development in Greater Minnesota, and the thousands of jobs in renewable energy in our state. I cannot support this legislation,” concluded Dayton in his letter. 

Industry reception

SEIA and the solar industry commend Governor Dayton for vetoing legislation that would have stripped rural Minnesota residents of critical consumer protection and hindered solar’s growth in the state. In doing so, Dayton stood up for both consumers and economic growth,” said Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in a statement.

“Due to policies championed by the Governor, Minnesota emerged as a national leader in solar energy last year. The state installed more community solar than any other state in the country. The Governor’s decision ensures that more Minnesotans can access solar energy and that clean energy jobs continue to grow.”

A victory for some and a loss for others, representative Pat Garofalo, co-author of the bill was said to be “disappointed”.

“The rural communities had done everything right to achieve a bipartisan consensus on the issue,” Garofalo said.

21 May 2024
Understanding the PV module supply to the U.S. market in 2024 & 2025. The conference gathers together developers, independent power producers and module suppliers to the U.S. solar market as well as EPCs, banks, investors, technical advisory and testing & certification specialists.
8 October 2024
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.

Read Next

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
February 28, 2024
Seattle, USA
Solar Media Events, Industry Events
March 12, 2024
Frankfurt, Germany
Upcoming Webinars
March 13, 2024
9am EDT / 1pm GMT / 2pm CET
Solar Media Events
March 19, 2024
Texas, USA