A 2015 state law enabled MN cooperative utilities to target customers who net meter their renewable power with unfair punitive fees, some over $80/month.
HF234 limits rural coop customers’ ability to fight back because the bill eliminates the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) authority to review and handle disputes over these astronomical fees.
Are these discriminatory fees actually based on any legitimate costs to serve a solar customer or are the power companies artificially inflating the costs of residential solar in order to fend off competition from the growing industry? The PUC analyzed these questions and has ruled in favor of customers who brought the disputed the fees and ordered the utility to cease their illegal activity. In fact, solar customers actually save money for non-solar customers offsetting the need for expensive utility investments.
Because the power companies can not justify their oblique fees when placed under scrutiny, they asked the State Legislature to eliminate PUC review so they can weasel out of public oversight for punishing renewable customers. They want no transparency on their fee calculations. What do they have to hide? Saying this legislation is another way of saying that obfuscation is a good thing.