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S.F. No. 1824 - Omnibus Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy
Author: Senator David J. Osmek
Prepared By: Carlon D. Fontaine, Senate Counsel (651/296-4395)
Date: March 24, 2017




Section 1 [Energy and Utilities Appropriations] specifies definitions of fiscal years.

Section 2 [Department of Commerce] provides appropriations for the Department of Commerce. See spreadsheet for details.

Section 3 [Appropriation and transfer] directs Xcel Energy to transfer $10,000,000 in fiscal year 2018 from the renewable development account to the special revenue fund and then appropriates the amount to the commissioner of commerce for a onetime transfer to the Iron Range Resource and Rehabilitation Board for deposit in a business development fund for renewable energy manufacturing.

Section 4 [Public Utilities Commission] provides appropriations for the Public Utilities Commission. See spreadsheet for details.



Section 1 [Dispute; resolution] exempts rural electric cooperatives from the requirement to have the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) resolve disputes regarding net metering. Sections 1 to 3 are from H.F. 234 (Weber).

Section 2 [Municipal electric utility] exempts municipal utilities from the requirement to have the PUC resolve disputes regarding net metering.

Section 3 [Cooperative electric association] authorizes the board of directors of a rural electric cooperative to exempt it from regulation by the PUC with respect to net metering, provided the board does so by resolution and adopts rules implementing the net metering statute, including rules providing a process to resolve disputes. Terminates disputes pending before the commission.

Section 4 [Solar energy standard] makes the current solar energy standard of at least ten percent of the 1.5 percent goal to be met by solar energy from solar photovoltaic devices with a nameplate capacity of 20 kilowatts or less applicable to a public utility with more than 200,000 retail electric customers (applies to Xcel Energy only). Requires a public utility with between 50,000 and 200,000 retail electric customers (applies to Otter Tail Power and Minnesota Power) to meet at least ten percent of the 1.5 percent goal with solar energy from solar photovoltaic devices with a nameplate capacity of 40 kilowatts or less. Allows individual customer subscriptions of 40 kilowatts or less to a community solar garden program operated by the public utility to apply toward that goal. This is from S.F. 1649 (Ingebrigtsen).

Section 5 [Staging and permitting] extends the time period for site and route permits and water appropriation approvals to remain valid for an innovative energy project. This is from S.F. 584 (Tomassoni).

Section 6 [Resource plan filing and approval] requires a utility, when filing a resource plan with the PUC, to include the least cost plan for meeting 50 and 75 percent of all energy needs from both new and refurbished generating facilities (instead of capacity needs) through a combination of conservation and renewable energy resources. This section has an effective date of the day following final enactment, but would apply only to resource plans filed on or after July 1, 2017.

Section 7 [Preference for renewable energy facility] includes additional factors that the PUC must consider when making a public interest determination for approval or rate recovery for new or refurbished nonrenewable energy facilities. Requires the PUC to also consider impacts on local and regional grid reliability, utility and ratepayer impacts resulting from the intermittent nature of renewable energy facilities, and other utility and ratepayer impacts, in addition to the greenhouse gas reduction goals and the renewable energy and solar energy standards already required.

Section 8 [Adjustment of biomass fuel requirement] allows Xcel Energy to seek approval from the PUC for a new or amended power purchase agreement or, if all parties agree, to terminate the existing agreement. Sets out the conditions under which the commission may approve any of the options, including that all parties are in agreement, and that the option is in the best interest of Xcel customers. Approval of any option by the PUC does not require Xcel to purchase additional biomass under the mandate. Allows Xcel to petition the commission to allow automatic cost recovery through its rates of charges, investments, or costs associated with any action taken with respect to the power purchase agreement. This is from S.F. 700 (Tomassoni).

Section 9 [Assessment for department regional and national duties] extends the authorization for the Department of Commerce to assess energy utilities for department regional and national duties from June 30, 2017, to June 30, 2021. Reduces the amount that may be assessed for these activities from $1,000,000 to $500,000 per fiscal year.

Section 10 [Multifamily residential dwelling] adds a definition of multifamily residential dwelling. This is from S.F. 1088 (Pratt).

Section 11 [Voice-over-Internet protocol service] provides a definition of “Voice-over-Internet protocol service.” Sections 11 to 13 are from S.F. 1742 (Ruud).

Section 12 [Internet protocol-enable service] provides a definition of “Internet protocol-enable service.”

Section 13 [Voice-over-Internet protocol service and Internet protocol-enabled service] subdivision 1 [Regulation prohibited] prohibits any regulation by a state agency of any aspect of VoIP or IP-enabled service, except as provided in this section.

Subdivision 2 [VoIP regulation] specifies that, to the extent allowed under federal law, VoIP service is subject to Minnesota’s surcharges for 911 emergency service, telecommunications access Minnesota, and the telephone assistance plan. Requires VoIP providers to comply with federal requirements to provide access to 911 service and to report annually to the PUC how that is accomplished.  

Subdivision 3 [Relation to other law] specifies that nothing in this section affects:

  • the PUC’s jurisdiction over intrastate access rates and terms, dispute resolutions with respect to intercarrier compensation, and wholesale telecommunications services;
  • the authority of local units of government with respect to the regulation of public rights-of-way; or
  • the authority of the attorney general to enforce law governing consumer protections and trade practices.

Subdivision 4 [Exemption] specifies that any IP-enabled video service, including cable TV video service, is not regulated by the state.   

Subdivision 5 [Preservation of existing landline telephone services] specifies that this section does not affect the obligations of a telephone company to offer landline telephone service that is not VoIP service.

Section 14 [Residential PACE consumer protection legislation task force] establishes a task force to develop recommendations for consumer protection legislation for residential PACE financing programs for single-family dwellings. Specifies membership and duties of the task force. Requires a report to the legislature to include any draft legislation necessary to implement the recommendations of the task force by January 15, 2018. Prohibits operation of residential PACE program for single-family dwellings until legislation is enacted establishing the consumer protections identified by the task force. This is from S.F. 1088 (Pratt).

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