August 25, 2017
Local Democracy Legislation
During the 2017 Legislative Session, the Minnesota Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, a provision that reduces duplication in regulation on your electric cooperative. This piece of legislation, Local Democracy, returns some balance to the regulatory process, ensuring decisions that impact member-owners of electric cooperatives are made locally by your elected board of directors. While electric cooperatives are already locally regulated in most areas, this legislation made an important clarification, one that will allow for innovation in response to members’ needs and wants for years to come.
What does the passage of local democracy legislation mean to members of Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative (MLEC)? The legislation allows the board of directors of an electric cooperative to adopt the authority of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) over a specific section of Minnesota Statute regarding distributed generation*. Adopting this authority brings the cooperative in-line with local governance of rates, fees and charges found in the rest of Minnesota Statute.
The specific statute area that will be considered by the MLEC board to adopt authority is Minnesota Statute 216B.164, the small power production and cogeneration section. This section of statute lays out the requirements for distributed generation in Minnesota. The local democracy legislation didn’t change the substance of this section - the requirements for distributed generation remain the same. What does change is the regulatory body responsible for balancing interests within the law if the cooperative board adopts the authority held by the MPUC.
Adopting this authority ensures that the local regulatory board (the MLEC board of directors) is responsible for interpreting and applying this section of statute while balancing local interests of members within their cooperative. Adopting this authority will reduce the administrative burden on the cooperative while allowing the cooperative to innovate in response to member needs without the high cost of PUC intervention. The MLEC board of directors will be discussing and voting on adopting a resolution at their September 15, 2017, board meeting.
- Click for a link to Minnesota Statute 216B.164.
- See below for a draft copy of the resolution adopting the authority for implementing 216B.164.
Written comments for board consideration can be submitted to Chris Perrine, Member Service Manager, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or mail to MLEC, Attention: Chris Perrine, PO Box 230, Aitkin MN 56431; or, delivered to our office in person. On September 15, 2017, prior to their monthly meeting, the board of directors will be available from 9:00-10:00 a.m. for member comments. Contact Chris Perrine at 218.927.8242 to schedule an appointment for meeting attendance.
If you have questions, please call our office. Cooperatives have been successful because we are member-owned and governed. This legislation is another step in protecting that local democratic control.
*Distributed generation refers to power generation at the point of consumption. Typical examples include: solar panels on the roofs of homes and buildings, small wind turbines, and electric vehicles.
Draft Copy of Resolution Adopting the Authority for Implementing Minnesota Statute 216B.164:
DRAFT A Resolution of the Board of Directors of _______________________ Cooperative Adopting the Authority of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in Minnesota Statute Section 216B.164
WHEREAS the Minnesota Legislature passed and the Governor of the State of Minnesota signed into law the authority for the boards of directors of cooperative electric associations to assume the authority of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in Minnesota Statute 216B.164 during the 2017 Minnesota Legislative Session.
BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Directors of __________________________ Cooperative that authority granted by the legislature to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission over cooperative electric utilities in Minnesota Statute Section 216B.164 is assumed by the Board of Directors of _______________________ Cooperative as provided in Minnesota Statute 216B.164 Subd. 11(a).
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Directors of ________________________ Cooperative are the regulatory commission of ___________________ Cooperative. Wherein Minnesota Statute 216B.164 the term commission is used, the meaning of commission is the Board of Directors of ______________ Cooperative unless there is language expressly to the contrary.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Directors of ________________________ Cooperative have adopted rules and have them in effect on this date implementing Minnesota Statute 216B.164.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Directors of ________________________ Cooperative have on this date, included in rules implementing Minnesota Statute 216B.164, a dispute resolution process as required by Minnesota Statute Section 216B.164 Subd 11(a) and (b).
SIGNED AND DATED: (Have each Director of the Board Sign the Original Resolution)
June 12, 2017
Last month, President Trump released his proposed budget for 2018, with a number of suggested proposals affecting rural America. One of the proposals includes selling off transmission assets -- lines, structures, substations, etc. -- that belong to three of our country's four Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs). Co-ops in more than 20 states receive some allocation of power from those PMAs. If this proposal moves forward, it would affect many rural areas with potential rate increases and threaten the reliability of power co-ops rely on.
Please take a moment today to let your Senator know that selling off the PMA assets amounts to nothing more than a tax on rural America.
Some Senators have already announced their support of PMAs -- please thank them for their support.
Most Senators have not announced their support of PMAs -- please ask them to show their concern for rural America.
Thank you for supporting your electric cooperative!
America's Electric Cooperatives
On August 3, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its final Clean Power Plan (CPP) regulating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants.
Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative believes a common sense approach needs to be taken to allow for a mix of renewables that does not adversely affect rate payers and those that can least afford higher energy bills.
For more information to keep electric bills affordable, visit www.action.coop.