Legislative Victories

Energy CENTS has been advocating for Minnesotans at the legislative level since 1993. See some examples of our victories for low income utility customers:

  • Passed legislation requiring the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to consider ability to pay as a factor in setting utility rates and establishing low-income utility programs

  • Worked to pass legislation requiring utilities to invest in low-income conservation programs, including a requirement that spending on utility low-income conservation must increase with increases in utility revenue

  • Strengthened and streamlined Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule law. Under that law, customers pay what they can and their heat can not be turned off in the winter.

  • Co-led the 2001 POWER campaign to defeat electric utility deregulation and increase utility consumer protections

  • Wrote and passed the law defining service or load limiters as heat-affected disconnections, subjecting their use to the same protections under Minnesota's current Cold Weather Rule (restricting heat-affected shut-offs in the winter)

  • Passed legislation requiring utilities to provide year-round monthly reports to the Public Utilities Commission, including average residential customer bills, past due amounts, service disconnections and reconnections. Advocates can use this information to ensure utility compliance with Minnesota laws and to develop additional policy initiatives.

  • Worked with allies to pass utility service quality standards, including complaint and call center response time, disconnection rates and meter-reading frequency.

  • Passed legislation requiring the Department of Commerce to purchase lower cost propane in the summer for low-income propane customers and to pass the pre-buy savings onto customers allowing their Energy Assistance Program grants to purchase more fuel for heating.

  • Passed legislation to prohibit utility service disconnections during periods of extreme heat