Members of the public can participate in a Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (Commission) docket by filing comments. If you want to get more involved, you can also petition to intervene as a formal party. Both parties and non-parties can ask to speak during hearings in front of the full Commission, but decisions about who is allotted speaking time are made on a case-by-case basis by the Commission Chair and are not guaranteed.
How can I intervene to become a Formal Party?
If you want to become a formal party, you can file a Petition for Intervention using the rules in Minnesota Rule 7829.0800. Your petition must explain the specific reasons you want to intervene.
When is Intervention Allowed?
The Commission will allow intervention under four circumstances: 1) the person is considered by statute to be interested in the type of matter; 2) the person is specifically identified in a different statute as an interested party; 3) the proceeding will bind or affect you with respect to a specific interest different from the interest of the public; or 4) your interests are not adequately represented by the other parties in the case.
What is the benefit of becoming a Formal Party?
Formal parties have the right to participate in contested case hearings, to file motions before the Commission, and request intervenor compensation in some dockets.
What is a contested case?
A docket may be referred to the Office of Administrative Hearings for a contested case if it involves disputed facts. While non-parties can always file comments in a contested case, parties are allowed to introduce testimony through expert witnesses, and participate in the contested case hearing. Most Commission dockets are resolved without a contested case hearing.
What is a motion?
A motion is a formal request for the Commission to take action in a docket that is already pending, pursuant to Minn. Rule 7829.0410. Motions are not common.
In some circumstances, individuals or nonprofit intervenors are eligible to request compensation for the costs of participating in a Commission docket. Compensation can only be requested by intervenors that have materially assisted the Commission’s decision-making in general rate case dockets. You can find more information about intervenor compensation in Minnesota Statutes § 216B.16, subdivision 10.
Large Energy Facilities Cases
For large energy facilities contested case hearings, the public is afforded a heightened level of participation without the necessity of intervention. The public can offer direct testimony or written testimony that is not under oath and the public can question all persons testifying consistent with Minnesota Rule 1405.0800. If you have questions about how to intervene or whether that is a good option for you, contact Commission staff at Publicadvisor.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about participating on the Commission's Get Involved webpage: