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Notice Extending Comment Period

View Case Record, PR-16-9

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Ralph Kaehler over 3 years ago

The fees (monthly tax) should be suspended until a valid cost of service study is completed. many of the REA renewable tax is calculated on "net meter recovery" for 100% of the solar production, not on excess kWh - so members get charge for producing renewable energy, and for using it. The reduction in kWh takes pressure off of the REA's supply needs, and the solar array owner provides excess power during the day when needed in exchange for taking it back at night when there is excess capacity. this is a win-win and members who are progressive should not be penalized for their actions -- unless Ok'd by the PUC.

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Mike Woodley over 3 years ago

The members of the cooperatives are asking for solar. Farmers, in particular, are doing what they can to be competitive. Not one of my current solar customers sell back any kWH that their system produces to the coop. They are simply lowering how may kWh they purchase monthly. The energy they generate on their farm is during the day when they are consuming it. Much like swapping to LED lighting or more efficient appliances. The new implemented fee for solar is, in my opinion, is a punitive penalty or a tax, as it is as much as $86 dollars per month for a customer regardless of whether they sell back any kWh or not. Added to that the "fee" constitutes as much as 30% of the of how much production the system produces. Each of my customers is already paying a monthly service fee and they have been for many years prior to adding solar for the service connection to their property. I have searched for any documentation of how a solar customer is costing his cooperative as much as $86 per month especially when the member is only reducing how many kWH he purchases from his cooperative. These are not large companies. This $86 per month fee is being instituted on small family farms that want to use solar to be more competitive. Please consider suspending this fee, tax or punitive penalty until their can be a fair and balanced study to determine what additional cost, if any, that solar users should be charged to use a proven, safe and reliable form of reducing their purchase and reliance on coal-generated electricity. Thank you..

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Dan Allosso over 3 years ago

I agree. As a small farmer, when my local energy coop came to the door and asked if they could lay underground cable across my land, I said sure. So when they run to the government and try to get a tax slapped on me to prevent me from putting a few solar panels on the barn, I consider that a breach of a social contract. And practically, all it's going to do is drive the really proactive, early adopter types (who any forward-thinking company would be relying on to help pave the way to change) off the grid entirely. How's that going to affect the utilities' costs in the long run?

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Vince Robinson over 3 years ago

The PUC should absolutely require the RECs to suspend the implementation of renewable energy surcharges until a complete cost study is completed and reviewed by the PUC. Also, these surcharges, if allowed in the future, should never be allowed to be implemented on projects that are either already on-line, or that have development contracts in place. There are hundreds of REC members that are looking to develop renewable energy net metering projects and they need some assurances that their investment in these activities will not be undermined by RECs that are trying to threaten the future of renewable energy in our great state.

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Mark Margiotta over 3 years ago

Yes, the Commission should suspend the charges.

The charges currently being implemented by REAs have not gone through any review by the Commission, and in many cases have been influenced solely by a calculation put together by the REAs industry association. The law allows for these cost recovery charges, but how can they be implemented without a formal review? The approach of the REAs cannot be to start charging a fee and then see what happens; that is not in any way fair to its members.

The Commission has an obligation to protect customers in the State of Minnesota, and the right thing to do is to suspend these charges until they can be officially reviewed.

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Eric Jensen over 3 years ago

Yes, these fees are actively stopping projects from happening, even those where a customer just wants to cover most of their electric use. These fees/charges/taxes on customers should be halted until a thorough review is done, and reduced/eliminated where appropriate after expert and representative review.

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John Larsen over 3 years ago

The PUC should immediately suspend the implementation of renewable energy surcharges. We need clean energy now and need to remove impediments whenever and wherever possible. The fees are stopping projects from happening now and we need these projects.

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Lyle Rogalla over 3 years ago

For decades since NSP and "Ready Killowatt" have disappeared we have been told reduce our electrical consumption. I have complied. For years we have heard about re-newable energy and the need to embrace it. Most of it is junk science or far too costly in practice. Solar on the other hand has become so much more accessible as equipment costs drop and technology improves. Sunlight comes from God like air, those whom have the means to install and use the equipment to reduce demand on our energy grid should not be burdened with what is really a usery tax. Remember we have heard the Utility Companies say with elaborate prime time TV advertising save energy and use renewable energy, lower your demand on your power company. Those whom can invest in solar have in response to your advertising. Now asking for a tax in fancy wording calling it a distribution fee or something like that is so typical of our Government today "make promises for logical common sense items, say one thing but do nothing or the opposite". A tax or service or user fee on self installed solar equipment and the production of electricity from sunlight is WRONG!!! It goes opposite to what will be no more then propaganda about creating and using alternative energy to reduce the load on utility companies if you impose these usery fees on customers whom have heard your call to ease your burden.

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Dan Prince over 3 years ago

These fees should be investigated and suspended. These fees are a tax against the very people who are trying to help solve the problem of climate change by generating their own green energy. We must encourage all forms of clean energy to meet the challenge of climate change, and these taxes would set back significantly the transition to a more responsible energy system.

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Derek Meyers over 3 years ago

These fees seem to fly in the face of the renewable energy goals of MN. They need to be suspended until a more accurate way of valuing renewable energy is developed. Seems like the benefits of renewable energy would far and away offset any and all "costs" to the utility.

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George Kraemer over 3 years ago

These fees are unnecessary and unfounded. They need to be suspended.

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Russ Czapar over 3 years ago

I recently signed up to get a solar system placed on my residence because of the benefits to the environment as well as a lower electric bill. The recovery fee will only cause people like myself to not invest in solar. The recovery fee seems completely against what the state of Minnesota is trying to achieve, which is increasing solar and clean energy. This will only decrease solar in MN, so this in itself does not even make sense as it would not increase solar. Basically if the recovery fee is passed it means that Minnesota is going against its goal of increasing solar in the state. The electric companies charge enough fees, it is time to say enough with the fees and help our state go green and meet its goal.

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Tom Langreck over 3 years ago

The PUC should suspend these fees as they are unreasonable and are not properly vetted. They discourage the progress of renewable energy and are not backed up by accurate measurable costs. Renewable energy benefits everyone now and into the future in one way or another. It should not be discouraged through unreasonable and inaccurate fees that have not been vetted.

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Brian Allen over 3 years ago

A cost of service study needs to be conducted before any type of fee is established. until than, the PUC should suspend all fees.

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Benjamin Allen over 3 years ago

Until a cost of service study has been completed, verified, and accepted by communities, all fees should be suspended. Renewable energy, especially solar, is the wave of the future. Providing energy to homes and businesses at a lower cost and reducing carbon foot prints are essential to combating controlled climate change.

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Kristen Sachwitz over 3 years ago

All fees should be suspended effective immediately until a thorough analysis is completed. Many customers of the coops and municipal utilities are seeking alternatives. Until the electric utilities can provide that renewable energy for their customers, those customers shouldn't get penalized for their renewable energy.

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Matt Greeninger over 3 years ago

As a proud employee of a solar installation company, I believe that these fees should be suspended for investigation. Renewable energy needs to be embraced as much as possible, and utilize as many suitable roof spaces as possible. Our customers not only benefit from knowing that they are providing clean energy for their homes and any excess energy goes back onto the utility grid, but also because of the fact that their electric bills get drastically reduced by use of net metering. These proposed fees would virtually cancel out those financial benefits, and hinder the advancement of renewable energy.

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Dennis MacAvaney over 3 years ago

A flat fee doesn't seem accurate, especially if it varies among utilities. The PUC needs to verify that the fees aren't outdated or arbitrary. Considering that solar can be more cost-effective than fossil fuels, the last thing we want to do is discourage the industry.

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Rick Behncke over 3 years ago

I Agree the PUC should absolutely require the RECs to suspend the implementation of renewable energy surcharges until a complete cost study is completed and reviewed by the PUC. Also, these surcharges, if allowed in the future, should never be allowed to be implemented on projects that are either already on-line, or that have development contracts in place. There are hundreds of REC members that are looking to develop renewable energy net metering projects and they need some assurances that their investment in these activities will not be undermined by RECs that are trying to threaten the future of renewable energy in our great state. Thanks Rick Behncke

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Mena Kaehler over 3 years ago

Yes, please suspend and investigate these fees. We need to work from fact, not speculation.

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Linda Remucal over 3 years ago

We need to encourage renewable energy, not discourage it by imposing additional costs/taxes/fees. These recurring taxes and fees will only keep well-meaning people like me, who care for our environment, from installing residential solar energy.

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Michael Allen over 3 years ago

The fees that are being added to solar customers should be suspended until valid studies have been conducted. Not one of them have provided valid factual information backing up the fees that they are enforcing. It is an embarrassment that our coops and munis feel that it is appropriate to implement fees with out requiring factual based studies. These fees are dishonest to all of their customer base. Please suspend them until real studies have been conducted to properly reflect the positive or negative effects that solar has on each local grids.

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Darren Juilfs over 3 years ago

Yes the fees must be suspended until a proper, well researched, cost / benefit analysis can be completed. This should include a proper costing for our current system of generation, to include external costs such as public health and environmental damage. I'm willing to pay a grid fee if it can be justified.

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Cathy Juilfs over 3 years ago

As more homes and businesses across the country install solar panels, our nation moves farther away from fossil fuel consumption and closer to a clean economy. Additional taxes should not be charged for good behavior, but should be used to discourage bad behavior. Using the sun promotes better health due to cleaner water, air and soil plus provides for a reduction of greenhouse gases. Also important to many is the outcome of a stronger economic growth due to the creation of green jobs. That said, the electric grid is extremely important but we need to step back and rework the old traditional system to encourage healthy long-term good behavior. I am opposed to fees and taxes of this nature until research on bringing the electrical system into the current century occurs.

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Cliff Kaehler over 3 years ago

These fees should be suspended until a review has taken place. Without a review, I can't understand how a fee can be calculated.

Furthermore, why are the RECs charging people to put solar on the grid, but giving incentives for energy efficiency? They both have the exact same impact on the grid, less kwhs, but one is subsidized and encouraged, and one is penalized.

Solar should just be treated fairly, that is all, and that's why all fees should be suspended, and they should NOT be allowed to impose fees retroactively. That hurts businesses and consumers.

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Eric Knutson over 3 years ago

The PUC should absolutely require the RECs / REA / or any other utility or coop to suspend the implementation of renewable energy surcharges until a complete cost study is completed and reviewed by the PUC. to tax family's with solar defeats the whole purpose of any family installing solar

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Everett E Dennis over 3 years ago

In reference to 16-9 there should not be additional fees added to billings for solar energy. As a consumer that will be installing solar in 2017 this fee will have a impact on our cost,this is not free enterprise. The coops have been fighting renewable energy to help our climate.As a coop they enjoy special treatment as cheap funding and government funding ,its time they do there part to protect our climate instead of creating road blocks. We all ready pay a $35 fee per month to be serviced plus usage. We have over 300 wind mills in our area none are owned by our coop. I hope 16-9 gets a lot of good input and thought before it becomes ant law respectfully. EED

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Everett E Dennis over 3 years ago

In reference to 16-9 there should not be additional fees added to billings for solar energy. As a consumer that will be installing solar in 2017 this fee will have a impact on our cost,this is not free enterprise. The coops have been fighting renewable energy to help our climate.As a coop they enjoy special treatment as cheap funding and government funding ,its time they do there part to protect our climate instead of creating road blocks. We all ready pay a $35 fee per month to be serviced plus usage. We have over 300 wind mills in our area none are owned by our coop. I hope 16-9 gets a lot of good input and thought before it becomes ant law respectfully. EED

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Everett E Dennis over 3 years ago

In reference to 16-9 there should not be additional fees added to billings for solar energy. As a consumer that will be installing solar in 2017 this fee will have a impact on our cost,this is not free enterprise. The coops have been fighting renewable energy to help our climate.As a coop they enjoy special treatment as cheap funding and government funding ,its time they do there part to protect our climate instead of creating road blocks. We all ready pay a $35 fee per month to be serviced plus usage. We have over 300 wind mills in our area none are owned by our coop. I hope 16-9 gets a lot of good input and thought before it becomes ant law respectfully. EED

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Mark Anderson over 3 years ago

Please investigate these fees and eliminate them until their necessity and effect are known. When allocating a business class, here a utility, the opportunity to have a localized monopoly for the benefit of the business and people of that area, those people have the right to understand the operating costs and profits of the businesses their generosity and self-interest created. When coal was used to make electricity it made sense to have one place burn it and clean up the mess, rather than have smoke stacks all over the city. Solar technology allows us to create energy where we use it cleanly, with less infrastructure investment, maintenance and generation losses of distribution. These unnecessary and unwarranted fees are an attempt to limit the growth of the next logical step in energy production, savings, resource conservation and improvement in public health. Burning 3 units of energy to put one unit of usable energy onsite isn't prudent, wise, nor sustainable. If there were a tax on that 2 units out of 3 waste ratio we would have distributed energy quickly, since the obvious benefits don't appear to be sense enough. And besides," You don't have to burn gas to power something that doesn't move.©"

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salvatore salerno over 3 years ago

In reference to 16-9 there should not be additional fees added to billings for solar energy. As a consumer who has installed, solar fee with my small system would force me to go off line and not use the system. The fee is greater then the amount of energy my system produces.

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Dan Allosso over 3 years ago

The fees should certainly be eliminated until they have been thoroughly understood and agreed to by all the parties involved. During this deliberation, special attention should be given to the long-term effects of a shift to decentralized renewable energy generation. The utilities argue that upgrading to a smart grid and attaching net-metered customers adds to their costs, but they have been very reluctant to share the details of these costs or address the relationship between the short and long terms. Even the language they use is suspect. Why is attaching rooftop solar or hilltop wind a COST, when burning coal or natural gas is an INVESTMENT? Many of Minnesota's energy distribution companies are nominally cooperatives. It seems to me they should be encouraged to think more creatively and inclusively about what they are in business to do and for whom.

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Scott Woitas over 3 years ago

PUC should suspend these fees until a state wide investigation is done and all affected parties can have input.

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Peter Metzger over 3 years ago

Yes. These fees should be investigated and suspended until a reliable cost estimate has been produced and made public and clear to all stakeholders involved. Until due diligence and proper procedure have been followed, these fees simply serve to unscrupulously disincentivize folks trying to do the right thing.

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Lora Abraham over 3 years ago

Yes, these fees should not be allowed. This would be really hurting future customers and businesses.

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Burton Laine over 3 years ago

I have explored adding solar to our farm in the past, and was held back partially because the cooperative we receive electricity from already charges a $42 monthly service availability charge. When I heard that this type of cost recovery fee was being charged by other cooperatives, I quit exploring the solar option because it would totally make it economically unfeasible. These fees should not be allowed.

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sarah whebbe over 3 years ago

The proposed fees should be reviewed by the PUC before they are implemented. A flat fee does not accurately fit the cost of distributed generation on the grid. The PUC has a singular ability to protect energy consumers and verify that the fees aren't outdated or arbitrary. Clean energy on the grid offers an incredible benefit to all, the last thing we should do is needlessly discourage it's adoption.

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Matt Dovenberg over 3 years ago

Yes, these fees should be suspended until further reviewed by the PUC. The solar array systems produce their own kwhs... energy that the utility does not need to produce. The state of Minnesota, known throughout the country as an "active and outdoors" state, should encourage using natural resources. These fees, completely under-researched, are a HUGE discouragement for people to pursue renewable energy. As a resident of Minnesota, I am disappointed with this fee implementation. I would fully expect the opposite from my state government - that we would be promoting, encouraging, and supporting clean energy for businesses and customers alike.

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Mary Jo Cristofaro over 3 years ago

Dear Public Utilities Commission,

I am currently the co- chair for Northfield Area Community Solar, a group of citizens concerned about the dangerous levels of carbon in the atmosphere. We are from the Northfield /Faribault area and have gathered to promote community solar projects that provide a healthy renewable energy choice to consumers in southern Minnesota and across the state.

Whether it is community solar gardens or other solar arrays going up in Minnesota, we are very troubled by the thought that these “cost recovery fees” that are being imposed on the developers, will indeed raise the cost of solar for consumers. We also believe that it will negatively impact the amount of solar that can be installed throughout the state.

It is imperative that the PUC investigate how the “cost of service studies” has been converted into “cost recovery fees” and its legitimacy, as well as how these fees will have a direct negative impact on small solar power production. Such fees have been promoted by utilities in various places throughout the country largely as a means of pushing up the costs of energy the utility does not sell, such as rooftop solar, and forcing consumers to purchase the dirty energy (even when mixed with renewable sources) the utility provides. We trust that in your job as the Public Utilities Commission and your responsibility in protecting us ratepayers and the public, that you will investigate the trickle-down effect to subscribers and have the best of intentions for the citizens of Minnesota in deciphering these variables.

We appreciate you hearing our comments and ask that you suspend these fees while taking an in-depth look at how they negatively impact “growing solar” and negatively impact those of us wanting a healthy energy choice and ultimately a healthier atmosphere. Please do not let these fees undermine all that has taken place thus far, for what Minnesotan’s value as important strides in moving us away from dirty energy production, that has been imposed on us and has been imported into our state. Creating our own renewable energy in Minnesota, for Minnesotans with fair and equitable costs is something to be proud of.

Thank you for your all support of solar as a healthy energy choice for Minnesotans.

Sincerely, Mary Jo Cristofaro Northfield Area Community Solar mjcristofaro@gmail.com

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Ryan Buege over 3 years ago

Yes, the Commission needs to suspend the additional charges until real studies are completed and made transparent to the public. This is a clear effort to suppress local solar development in MN and stamp out options for electric consumers. These charges are completely arbitrary and do not accurately account for the total impact of adding solar to the grid -- including benefits to REAs such as peak shaving, reduction in transmission expenses. It’s true that a customer would be charged massive fees even if their energy never touched the grid and was used entirely on-site. That makes no sense at all. These fees are an unnecessarily high tax on solar users, and they a major handicap on the potential for solar and local energy production in Minnesota. Solar penetration in MN is very low, and we need to encourage more. These fees do just the opposite.

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Michelle Medina over 3 years ago

On behalf of Minnesota Farmers Union, we believe that the Commission should immediately suspend the additional charges to recover the fixed costs that were charged by these utilities and others that are not listed. As we stated before, these charges have not been proven through a cost of service study, as required per Minn. Stat. §216B.164, subd. 3, and we do not believe them to be reasonable or appropriate. We further support that these fees be reimbursed to the customers with interest. Finally, we support further study into this matter, as we understand the cooperative or utility’s need to recuperate some of the costs associated with connecting a distributed generation customer to the grid, but it needs to be fair and justifiable.

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Abhilasha Purwar over 3 years ago

I think the PUC should not implement these fixed fees, weighing the negative impact on the solar generation, or merely rights of customer to generate their power. It is however, important to ensure recovery of the utilities cost of maintaining the grid, and PUC should explore fees structures that can mirror best the value of grid services, instead of arbitrary fixed cost impositions on a few customers.

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Brian Bakalyar over 3 years ago

Yes, I support MSEIA and Fresh Energy and believe that an investigation is warranted. During the investigation, these fees should be suspended until further work is conducted. These fees are costing local jobs.

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Richard Hall over 3 years ago

These fees need to be investigated further and should definitely be suspended! The public is constantly being told to "go green", curb your energy consumption, invest in a renewable energy source, etc. etc. Implementing a "cost recovery fee" would significantly impact the financial benefits of solar energy, thereby discouraging consumers to use solar. So then, what is gained?? Although REAs have costs with metered solar arrays, they also benefit from a reduction in transmission expenses, among other things. Solar energy should not be singled out from all other methods of reducing electricity.

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Rick Tisdale over 3 years ago

I find the additional fees a step backwards and the burden of proof should be on the utility company that any fee is fair and necessary.

Lets look at two utility clients. Client one installs a solar array and reduces their consumption when the consumption on the grid is highest in the middle of the day. He accomplishes by investing his own money to purchase a solar array. Client two also reduces his consumption but does it by installing more efficient appliances, LED bulbs, air conditioning and maybe even an electric hot water heater that the utility company paid for. The investment in more efficient items in their home are offset by rebates by the utility company.

Now the utility company wants to charge the person who installed solar a tax. You call this fair? The real issue is that the utility company is worried that about their little kingdom and will make every effort to prevent progress. They will implement programs like hot water heaters for free to increase the clients demand. They are not worried about their clients as they claim.They are worried their revenues will go down or they may become the next Kodak with advances in technology.

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Brandon Charboneau over 3 years ago

Without proper public display of case studies and peer review for the fees to these co-generators with these utilities, all fees should be suspended.

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Kristina Smith over 3 years ago

Absolutely the fees should be suspended. What impact solar actually has on the bottom line for the utility members should be done by non vested third party, not the utilities themselves. The results should be published, transparent, and easy to understand for the average lay person. But even if there are increased costs to the utility, I don't think those should go back to the forward investing solar customer who is doing the right thing for the health and well being for their neighbors. Aren't the solar customer supporting financially the installation costs of the required renewable energy portion for the utility portfolio?

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Paul Schwarzrock over 3 years ago

Yes, the Commission should suspend the charges. These fees should be investigated and suspended. These fees are a tax against the very people who are trying to help solve the problem of climate change by generating their own green energy.

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Terry Stumme over 3 years ago

We stand in agreement with those who advocate that these fees should be suspended or eliminated. We, like many others, have done what we can to conserve energy. We have installed a geothermal system, upgraded our house with insulation, windows and all LED bulbs/fixtures. In response, we have seen the addition and increase of base service charges. Our next step was to add a solar array to reduce our consumption but that has been placed on hold by implementation of this new tax by the utility. The notion that those who invest in solar or wind are transferring an unfair cost to those who cannot afford to do so is ridiculous. We need to see a complete transparent justification before any of these fees are implemented.

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Steve Cady over 3 years ago

I am an electric Cooperative Customer in Central Minnesota and I and request that you suspend and investigate these fees proposed by Utilities statewide! This fee is a re-occurring tax and will significantly, in a negative way, impact the use of renewable energy and the financial benefits of any kind of renewable energy. I support MNSEIA and Fresh Energy. This is simply an invention of the utilities to discourage renewables. I firmly believe this should be investigated.

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Joshua Quinlivan over 3 years ago

As a contractor dealing in many areas of energy efficiency and clean energy technologies, I believe these charges to be unwarranted without a proper cost of service study performed by all cooperatives. As others have stated, I feel like these coops are operating on an antiquated business model and are implementing this tax/fee/tariff to deter “member/owners”, which for all intents and purposes are only customers with little say in the matters of the cooperative, from making a forward thinking and environmentally sound decision to reduce their carbon footprint.

The cooperatives seem to operate under their own set of rules because they are “not for profit”. My personal opinion is that the PUC should hold them to some of the same standards as IOU’s when it comes to percentages of total generation coming from clean sources and as a member/owner of said utility I should be able to contribute to that without being charged a fee and somehow the utility and the member/owner should both benefit. It seemed to benefit the utility, customer, contractors, economy and the environment when we were installing clean technology under an IOU. That all came to a halt in our area as soon as the IOU sold its territory to a group of cooperatives. It seems the cooperatives are much more interested in solar when they are building their own solar farms and have control of said system. To me there are more benefits than harm to their/our system, such as helping with line loss, reducing peak demand (which is very taxing on the system) and providing a non-fossil fuel energy source. Some of this money that comes back in form of capital credits needs to be mandated to cover these costs, whatever they may be. Quite often there is a higher monetary cost when it comes to “green” initiatives and it’s our responsibility to step up to the plate and make the right decision, not the cheap one. Sure burning coal and other fossil fuels is cheap and the infrastructure is there, but can we really put a price on the future of our environment? As an individual, if I spend the upfront capital to be environmentally conscious, why should I be taxed on that decision. The PUC needs to speak on behalf of the people and tighten up the reigns on the cooperatives as they did the IOU’s in the past, and push mandates through in order to accomplish this. Do I think it’s right that they spend all kinds of money on advertising to reduce peak alerts instead of reinvesting this in clean energy technologies? No. Do I have a say? Not really, but the answer to me seems quite simple. Invest in clean energy technologies through rebates and subsidies and this problem will help solve itself.

The following is the Vison, Mission and Values statement from a member cooperative that serves my area (this is verbatim): “Vision, Mission and Values Vision To exceed member expectations as a safe, sustainable premier power cooperative. Mission We will power our communities and empower cooperative members to improve the quality of their lives. Values Our members are the reason for our existence. We will provide our members with value in the form of safe, reliable sustainable and competitively-priced electricity. We will build strong relationships with our member cooperatives, employees and all stakeholders. We will live the cooperative principles and hold ourselves true to our core values of accountability, integrity, innovation and commitment to community.”

I can read what they’re saying, and it sounds good, but the only part their principles that they’re following when it comes to these fees, is the part about the price of the electricity. The rest of it leans more towards community responsibility, quality of life and sustainability. These to me are the core reasons for clean energy technology, and to deter forward thinking and responsible action though the form of a tax is just plain wrong, especially when they won’t clearly state how they came to the basis of their fee structure.

Please investigate the fees and other tariff provisions and please suspend all charges until a cost of service study can be formed. Please push for mandates for cooperatives to spend a certain percentage of their extra capital in the form of rebate dollars and subsidies for clean energy technology. I can, for one, tell you that the flow of clean energy projects has almost come to a halt due to backward thinking policies from some of these REA’s. Otherwise we will see a negative impact on the environment and economy.

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John Mertes over 3 years ago

Yes, these fees should be investigated and suspended.

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Andy Vo over 3 years ago

Not only should these fees be investigated, but they should also be suspended. Again, they are not justified; they are unwarranted.

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Randy Moberg over 3 years ago

I believe that these fees should be suspended until a thorough and honest investigation is completed.

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Dave Fries over 3 years ago

A cost of service study needs to be conducted before any type of fee is established. PUC should suspend all fees.

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Elizabeth Dovenberg over 3 years ago

I request that these fees are investigated and suspended. They act as a tax and would directly affect the probability of me including solar power due to their impact on the cost of solar. I support MZSEIA / Fresh Energy and strongly believe that an investigation into these fees is warranted. Thank you.

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Mike Woodley over 3 years ago

The bill passed at the 11th hour of the special session tucked in a bill when it couldn't property be vetted reads "reasonable fee" but this certainly appears as an arbitrary fee as even the cooperatives can't come up with any reportable data of consensus. The language of the bill itself should be clarification enough that it needs to be suspended

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John Holm over 3 years ago

Yes, you should suspend these fees. even members of cooperatives who do not have solar would like their power to come from renewables as much as possible, even if that means a slightly higher cost for power due to net metering. any change in fees should be fair and applied to all customers, not just those that generate their own power.

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Mark Turley over 3 years ago

Minnesota has been moving in a positive direction supporting renewable energy and the positive impact it has on communities and jobs. Adding tariffs or taxes to residential solar should be well researched prior to making any decisions. The negative impact to adding costs to power generated by solar arrays on residences will stop the momentum Minnesota has and will negatively impact new job creation in the state. Many of us are working hard in a positive direction to continue the success Minnesota has achieved, do not stop this momentum. Please research in depth the affects taxes and tariffs will have on the overall solar market.

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Keith Heinrich over 3 years ago

I already pay a monthly service fee for the cost of administration, equipment and service. If this additional charge is levied on a solar power installation the effect will be to make solar power cost prohibitive. Besides why would the cooperative want to tax me for power I generate and use? This is unreasonable.

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Peter Schoon over 3 years ago

I am a North Itasca Coop Electric member customer in Bigfork, MN. I propose that rather than suspending the fee, it be immediately reversed. Coop's need to pay a subsidy to micro-electricity producers (e.g. solar) to defray micro-producers' costs, and compensate them for absorbing peak loads (which saves coops and electric utilities capex for peak load delivery). Please consider reversing the proposed $$ flows.

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Matt Dovenberg over 3 years ago

I highly recommend that this article be read by those with decision making abilities. Link: http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2016/05/23-rooftop-solar-net-metering-muro-saha

A few copy/paste excerpts from the article include: "For instance, a review of 11 net metering studies by Environment America Research and Policy Center has found that distributed solar offers net benefits to the entire electric grid through reduced capital investment costs, avoided energy costs, and reduced environmental compliance costs. Eight of the 11 studies found the value of solar energy to be higher than the average local residential retail electricity rate: The median value of solar power across all 11 studies was nearly 17 cents per unit, compared to the nation’s average retail electricity rate of about 12 cents per unit."

"In 2014 Minnesota’s Public Utility Commission approved a first-ever statewide “value of solar” methodology which affirmed that distributed solar generation is worth more than its retail price and concluded that net metering undervalues rooftop solar. The “value of solar” methodology is designed to capture the societal value of PV-generated electricity. The PUC found that the value of solar was at 14.5 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh)—which was 3 to 3.5 cents more per kilowatt than Xcel's retail rates—when other metrics such as the social cost of carbon, the avoided construction of new power stations, and the displacement of more expensive power sources were factored in."

Putting these fees on solar installations are greatly reducing the positive impact that the solar energy can have, especially in the state of Minnesota. I strongly encourage and suggest an investigation into these fees. The fees are restricting our state's economy and energy independence. While examining these fees, one must remember to compare the cost of what else could be used and how harmful that substance could be to the environment. As a Minnesota resident, I am hopeful the state makes the right decision - and saves green by going green!

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Stephen Plaisance over 3 years ago

An additional fee is not necessary. Today we have a meter charge to cover many on the fixed costs. If more fixed costs need to be covered increasing the meter charge is a better option.

Coops and cities have signed agreements with the generators of electricity not allowing the coops and cities to generate their own electricity. Therefore the coop and cities can not install their own solar panels. Coops and Cities need businesses and home homeowners to install wind and solar to meet the state mandate 25% generation from renewable resources.

The fee also runs contrary to the state mandate 25% of power be generated from renewable resources.

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Mark Reuter over 3 years ago

As a Minnesota Solar Developer and the jobs my company Sundance Energy Solutions create for Minnesota Electricians, Installers and cement crews. It is very discouraging to see these unsubstantiated tariffs and fee's. It has discouraged several potential clients of our from moving forward with a small solar array to offset some of their own electric usage. There needs to be a fair balance here between coops/utilities and customers. One suggestion would be the customer pays for the bi-directional meter at the time of the interconnection. That's it, that is really the only extra cost. Typically these meters are from $500 to $700 dollars. That would be fair. A tariff or fee of $55 or more per month is not fair, that is $660.00 per year for, lets say 25 years the warranty period for our USA made panels. That totals $16,500.00 in fee's. Until they can prove they have that much in extra costs, I just don't see this as being fair. The utilities don't penalize you when you save electricity for changing all your bulbs to LED, or buying that new energy efficient Air Conditioner. Why should this be any different?

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