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What The Commission Regulates


Electric and Natural Gas Energy Regulation:

  • Rate changes
  • Energy resource planning and certification
  • Service area 
  • Utility company mergers and acquisitions
  • Formal complaints
  • Reasonableness of utility fuel costs, including natural gas purchasing practices and purchased power agreements

Energy Facilities Planning

Facility Planning includes both the need for a project and/or a permit for a proposed site or route. Facilities cases are usually:

  • Large electric power plants 
  • Electric transmission lines 
  • Oil and natural gas pipelines 
  • Storage facilities 
  • Solar energy generating systems 
  • Wind energy conversion systems 

Telecommunications 

Telecom cases are wireline (landline) and usually relate to: 

  • Carrier Interconnection agreement approval and arbitration 
  • Local and long distance carrier certification and service quality standards 
  • Local exchange competition rulemaking 
  • Mergers and acquisitions 
  • Telephone Assistance Program and Lifeline 
  • Universal service programs 

How the Commission Works

The Commission is Minnesota’s utility regulator: 

  • Carries out the duties and responsibilities assigned by laws 
  • Is both quasi-judicial, similar to a court and quasi-legislative, similar to the legislature 
  • Creates rules relating to utility’s conduct and procedures, monitors utility operations and initiates investigations 
  • Provides a forum for resolving disputes between the public and utilities 
  • Considers the viewpoints of interested parties or stakeholders and the public 
  • Recognizes changes in society and technology so that competition is encouraged 
  • Seeks to balance and protect the interests of the public and the utility 
  • Develops and retains competent and dedicated commissioners and staff 

To ensure safe, reliable and efficient utility services, the Commission: 

  • Works to emphasize the production and use of energy resources that are friendly to the environment 
  • Encourages conservation 
  • Provides the means to put the state energy policies into effect 
  • Establishes rules related to safety and quality of service 
  • Encourages development and application of new technologies and services for the public 

Commission outcomes that impact the public and utilities: 

  • Approves rates and service quality standards for large electric and natural gas companies 
  • Approves resource plans for large electric utilities, including consideration of environmental effect of energy use 
  • Grants Certificates of Need for large energy facilities, including power plants and transmission lines 
  • Sets up accounting and depreciation procedures for electric and natural gas utilities 
  • Approves financial incentives for energy conservation 
  • Serves as board of appeals for the Conservation Improvement Program 
  • Sets incentives for gas purchasing programs 
  • Encourages and approves co-generation and small power generation resources

How It Happens

In creating and maintaining the proper regulatory environment, the Commission

  • carries out the duties and responsibilities assigned to it by law 
  • operates in both a quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative capacity 
  • creates rules relating to the conduct of utilities and the  procedures under which the Commission operates
  • makes decisions to support the public interest, considering a wide variety of factors
  • provides a forum for resolving disputes between the public and utilities 
  • considers the various viewpoints of interested parties
  • monitors utility operations
  • initiates investigations and deliberates in the public interest
  • retains competent and dedicated commissioners and staff.

In ensuring the delivery of safe, reliable and efficient utility services, the Commission:

  • emphasizes the production and consumption of energy resources that will minimize damage to the environment;
  • encourages conservation;
  • implements the state's energy policies;
  • establishes rules related to safety and quality of service;
  • encourages the development and appropriate implementation of new technologies and services for the public.

In making this all happen, the Commission:

  • Approves rates and service quality standards for large electric and natural gas companies
  • Approves resource plans for large electric utilities, including consideration of environmental effect of energy use
  • Grants Certificates of Need for large energy facilities, including power plants and transmission lines
  • Establishes depreciation and accounting procedures for electric and natural gas utilities
  • Approves appropriate financial incentives for energy conservation
  • Serves as board of appeals for the Conservation Improvement Program
  • Sets appropriate incentives for gas purchasing programs
  • Encourages and approves co-generation and small power generation resources
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