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Legislative Accomplishments

Energy CENTS has been advocating for Minnesotans at the legislative level since 1994. See some examples of our victories for low income utility customers:

  • Securing consumer protections including the right to budget billing, affordable past due payment provisions, and prohibitions against service disconnections during extreme hot weather.  See Minn. Stat.§216B.098.

 

  • Establishing the Xcel Energy electric affordability program (POWER On), a baseline funding level, and a provision that the program’s budget increases by the same percentage as any approved residential electric rate increase.  See Minn. Stat.§216B.16, Subd. 14.

 

  • 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 - See Minn. Stat.§216B.16, Subd. 15

 

  • 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) - See Minn. Stat.§216B.096 and 216B.097.

 

  • Requiring all investor-owned natural gas utility companies to offer affordability programs to low-income customers.  Those programs limit the percentage of household income participants pay for natural gas costs.  See Minn. Stat.§216B.16, Subd. 15.

 

  • 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.

 

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

 

  • Worked to pass legislation requiring all investor-owned utilities to invest in low-income conservation programs - See Minn. Stat.§216B.241, Subd. 7.

Please contact us at ecc@energycents.org or 651-774-9010 if you would like more information about any of the activities highlighted above.

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