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Utility Planning

Planning for the future

A core responsibility of the PUC is regulating how Minnesotans get their power. This process begins when a utility files a new resource or distribution plan. These plans are forward-looking planning documents that focus on the utility’s forecast of how much energy customers will need in the future. Plans then analyze how energy conservation, fuel purchases, power generation, and infrastructure to get energy to customers’ homes or businesses, could meet those energy needs. In other words, it is a whole system view. 

The plans can then inform each other, and other utility proceedings, like rate cases. Many customer programs, however, like energy efficiency programs, utility rates, and utility rates, natural gas innovation, and solar programs are decided through other processes.

To keep up with new technology, changing fuels and power sources, and evolving laws, the Commission reviews utilities’ updated plans regularly to ensure there is safe, reliable, and affordable utility services.

The Commission’s public process gives stakeholders a chance to review utilities’ plans. The public process helps ensure decisions are built on significant feedback and analysis from citizens, utilities, state agencies, clean energy organizations, labor unions, consumer advocates, and more.

In Minnesota, utilities engage in multiple types of planning processes. These include:

  • Integrated Resource Planning (IRP)

  • Gas Integrated Resource Planning

  • Integrated Distribution Planning (IDP)

  • Transmission Planning

Planning process graph showing the steps of planning, comment period, reply period and commission decision  

Once a utility submits a resource or distribution plan, here’s what usually happens next:

  1. The Commission files a Notice in its eDocket system which announces the opening of an initial comment period. During the comment period any person or organization can explain how the plan will or will not provide safe, reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy.

  2. The Notice also says when the reply comment period will open. This is how stakeholders can respond to one another’s feedback and analysis submitted during the initial comment period.

  3. After reply comments are filed, the Commission makes a decision on the plan during an Agenda Meeting.

How to get involved?

Members of the public, community organizations, local governments, businesses, and more can get involved in PUC proceedings. To get involved, you can:

Look at our web page dedicated to participating in the Commission process:

Check out our “How to Comment” page for tips on providing strong comments

When in doubt, consider getting involved with an organization that you trust and that appears in front of the Commission. They may be able to help you get involved.

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