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Local Democracy

During the 2017 Legislative Session the Minnesota Legislature passed and the Governor signed a provision that reduces duplicative regulation on your electric cooperative. This local democracy legislation returns some balance to the regulatory process, ensuring decisions that impact member-owners of cooperatives are made locally by your elected board of directors. While electric cooperatives are already locally regulated in most areas, this legislation made an important clarification, one that will allow for innovation in response to member’s needs and wants for years to come.

The legislation impacts the distributed generation section of statute and brings it in line with the rest of Minnesota Statute as it applies to rates, fees and charges of electric cooperatives. Electric cooperatives still must follow the law as laid out by the legislature in this section. The provision that the legislature recently passed and the Governor signed allows for cooperatives to adopt the authority implementing this section of statute (Minnesota Statute 216B.164). To do so a cooperative has to pass a resolution adopting this authority and adopt rules implementing this section of statute.

The municipal utilities in Minnesota have had similar authority in Minnesota for over 30 years. With the passage of the provision, the legislature affirmed the value of local decision making for rural electric cooperatives across Minnesota. As your locally owned cooperative we know that local decision making can result in rates and services that reflect our community’s needs while assisting in keeping administrative costs down.

At an upcoming meeting of your electric cooperative board of directors, the adoption of this authority will be addressed. Directors and staff will be reviewing the applicable law (MN 216B.164) and discussing a resolution and rules implementing the section of statute. The purpose of this change is to secure local decision-making, not to substantively change the way your cooperative interacts with distributed generation. If you are interested in this change please contact us with your concerns or plan to attend the meeting in person.

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