Community Power: Record your 3-minute testimony before July 30th 12pm! Rate Increase + Remedy
Your voice is needed. This week is the time to weigh in on three hugely important precedents about to be set in Minnesota all within the same public process.
Please take 5 minutes to add your comments before 12:00 pm on July 30th to include them in the virtual Public Hearings! You will find messaging points plus an easy way to record your (up to) 3-minute testimony there.
A special thanks if you are among the growing number who have submitted comments already.
Here are the 3 precedent-setting issues in front of us:
- A rate increase during a global pandemic (Centerpoint Energy still seeks a nearly 9% rate increase, including a whopping 26% increase to the fixed service charge, which means even if you use no gas in a month you still pay that charge). In contrast, a peer utility in Duluth gave partial refunds from its rate hike after the onset of COVID. (Our take: No way!)
- An exciting new pilot project that would lower Minnesotans’ energy bills by making home efficiency improvements accessible without the existing barriers that exclude people along lines of race, class, or immigration status (e.g. requirements of upfront cash, minimum credit score, taking on personal debt, proving immigration status on assistance applications). This remedy for high energy bills, called “Inclusive Financing“, is being proposed by the City of Minneapolis as a pilot project in the hopes that it can be used across Minnesota and beyond Centerpoint customers. Participants get an immediately lowered energy bill, even while materials/labor is recovered on the utility bill. It has seen incredible success in a growing number of communities across the country but has yet to be brought to Minnesota (Our take: Yes, definitely!)
- A newly granted opportunity for testimony to be accepted in 3-minute videos in addition to lengthy or distant Public Hearings (Until now, if someone wanted to give verbal testimony on an issue they would have to navigate a WebEx or call-in hearing that could last between 30 minutes and 3 hours – or in a non-COVID time they might have to drive to the Public Utilities Commission in St. Paul or a regionally but not locally convenient). (Our take: Thank you, Judge Lipman! Let’s make this option permanently available)
Alice Madden + Lee Samelson