The two issues for comment in late July:
1. Centerpoint is seeking a 8.7% rate hike from residential customers, which alarmingly includes an 26% increase in the "fixed fee" charge on energy users' bill from $9.50/month to $12.00/month. This type of charge is cannot be removed or offset by using less energy or installing more efficient home upgrades.
2. On July 15th, the City of Minneapolis has requested that Centerpoint adopt Inclusive Financing, a tool that would reduce home energy bills and consumption without loans or upfront cost (see full submission here on page 7). Inclusive Financing is growing in use across the country, thanks in part to the leadership and adoption from a North Carolina rural electric cooperative with a majority-Black board of directors serving members many of whom live in areas designated as "areas of persistent poverty." This tool removes upfront cash and personal debt typically required for efficiency improvements, which has long excluded most Minnesotans who cannot afford to or simply don't want to take on more debt. If adopted by the state regulators, this could set a game-changing precedent that would allow ANY utility to use the tool across the state to allow renters, homeowners, and property owners to have long-term reductions in their heating or light bills.
Please Add Your Voice on BOTH or EITHER of these issues! Sign-up here to get reminders, talking points, and comment support here for WRITTEN +/or VERBAL comments
(More information on hearing dates and formats below!)
The Public Utilities Commission (state regulators of energy providers) will receive both verbal and written testimony.
PUBLIC HEARINGS for VERBAL COMMENTS -
3-minute pre-recorded testimony has been allowed by the Judge! Record/upload your testimony here with the help of talking points if you choose. Deadline is 12:00pm July 30th, so that they can be played back in the last public hearing that evening. Historically, the PUC only sees between 0-8 commenters at live public hearings for rate increases - so this is a chance to demonstrate the need for options like pre-recorded testimony that don't require a commute or a 30 minute - 3 hour wait time to speak.
- Calling into the live hearings(virtual public hearings through WebEx and phone): call-in details here, allow yourself 15-20 minutes to navigate the instructions
- July 28th, 1:00pm OR 6:00pm
- July 29th, 5:00pm
- July 30th, 6:00pm pre-recorded testimony will be played at this hearing
- This is a great option if you have references, links, or citations you want to use; if you are an organization that would like to include official letterhead; if your comments will take longer to communicate than 3 minutes and/or you need more time to develop and edit your comments
- Deadline: August 21st @ 4:30pm
- Doing-It-Solo: Details on how to submit written testimony here, talking points here - make sure to put "Docket #19-524" in subject line
- Getting Support: RSVP talking points, simplified/customized write-in support here
Note on accessibility: Multiple organizations including Community Power, Sierra Club, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, MN350, and Cooperative Energy Futures have also requested that PUC staff always translate of Public Hearing announcements and make available day-of interpretation for at least Hmong, Spanish, and Somali.
Until and unless that recommendation is adopted, please pre-request translation by contacting Charley Bruce at 651-201-2251 or [email protected].