CapX Compliance Filing – what’s goin’ on?

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on October 10, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

Yesterday a filing came over the wire, and I finally got around to reading it.  Odd.  It’s a Compliance Filing, which means that Xcel is filing it to show that they’re in compliance with the CapX 2020 order, in this case it’s the Certificate of Need, docket 06-1115 (to see that docket, GO HERE and search for docket 06-1115).

Xcel’s Fargo-St. Cloud Compliance Report – October 8, 2012

So looking at this, I note a couple of things, first, that they have to make this filing because we were on it at the Certificate of Need stage what seems like a hundred years ago now, and managed to get a requirement that they disclose ownership structure, ownership percentages, AND that they disclose the capacity of the line.  DUH!  Well, it wasn’t such a DUH then or we wouldn’t have had to fight so hard for that.  And here we are, now fully three years after that permit was issued, and they’re just disclosing ownership — see the link above.

A while back, they filed a similar Compliance Filing for the Brookings-Hampton line:

Brookings Compliance Filing – January 26, 2011

And before that, they’d filed another one for the Fargo line:

Fargo Compliance Report from PUC site August 17, 2011:

Fargo – MSC Compliance Filing August 20, 2010 found HERE

The pattern is that they file a Compliance filing, and days later, the Dept. of Commerce files a “Compliance Closure” and it looks to me as if they receive the filing, say, “YUP, dat’s a filing,” check off the box, and file a Compliance Closure.

Filing 8/20/2010, Closure 8/26/2010

Filing 1/14/2011, Closure 1/19/2011

Filing 8/17/2011, Closure 8/23/2011

In their filings, addressing Ownership Structure, they talk of many agreements, but the agreements have not been filed.  They address “Project Owners” but no agreements on that either.  And then there’s “Transmission Capacity.”  They state the design capacity is 2.050 MVA, but the Certificate of Need is for a double circuited line with each circuit having a capacity of 2,050 MVA.  Hmmmmmm…

So, representing No CapX 2020, United Citizens Action Network, and Citizens Energy Task Force, I fired off an Information Request to Xcel Energy, filer of the Compliance Report, and to the Dept. of Commerce, so they’ll notice that there are no agreements in their files (or turn them over if somehow there is something there!). And then I sent that and a few initial comments to the PUC’s Burl Haar and filed it:

Correspondence to Xcel Energy and MN Dept of Commerce Oct 10, 2012

Correspondence to Public Utilities Commission October 10, 2012

Time to sit back and wait…

Buy the Farm at Supreme Court – Xcel/NSP objects!

Filed under:Buy the Farm — posted by admin on October 1, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

(be sure to check out the Scott County Order at the bottom of the page)

Northern States Power (Now it’s NSP, it’s been Xcel in the dockets at the PUC, why the difference?) objects to landowners taking the recent Appellate decision on Buy the Farm to the Supreme Court:

Northern States Power’s Opposition to Review

As I’ve reported before, there was a decision at the Minnesota Court of Appeals that is very detrimental to landowners exercising the “Buy the Farm” option under Minn. Stat. 216E.12, Subd. 4, where the Appellate Court tossed out District Court decisions that those electing Buy the Farm were due “minimum compensation” and “relocation compensation” under Minnesota’s Ch. 117, governing condemnation in Minnesota.

Buy the Farm – NSP v. Aleckson, Pudas, Hanson, et al.

The Dissent was dead on, here’s a snippet:

And summing it up:

Here’s the District Court decision that the Appellate Court turned around:

Stearns County Order 73-CV-10-10828

Wright County Order – 86-CV-10-7551

Landowners are, of course, outraged that this compensation is even at issue, much less being denied by the Appellate Court, so it’s off to the Supreme Court.  Here are the Petitions to the Supreme Court, still pending:

Northern States Power v. Roger Aleckson, et al. – Hanson and Stich Petition

Northern States Power v. Aleckson, et al. – Enos and Pudas Petition

The District Courts are clearly more understanding to what it means for landowners to have the CapX 2020 transmission project across their land, and what it means to make the decision to pick up and leave.

Yes, folks, the rumors are true — from the files of the Scott County Courthouse, here’s a first of its kind decision from Scott County District Court.  The court ordered that regarding the property of a landowner electing “Buy the Farm” (Minn. Stat. 216E.12, Subd. 4) the utility deposit the entire (utility) appraisal amount as it takes title in a quick take, similar to the requirement that it deposit the entire utility appraisal amount for an easement (and then the details are argued and agreed, or if no agreement is reached, it goes to Commissioners to make a recommendation to the court).

Scott County Buy the Farm Order 70-CV-12-8999

Here’s that specific most interesting part:

So will someone please explain why parties electing Buy the Farm aren’t all demanding the utilities deposit the full “Buy the Farm” appraised value?

This is just one of many (thousands?) of eminent domain proceedings for CapX 2020 transmission.  In the early stages, No CapX 2020 requested that the cost of Buy the Farm elections be considered in the cost/benefit analysis of transmission in the Certificate of Need.  If a large percentage of landowners elected Buy the Farm, the cost of the project would be much much higher.  Seeing that, consideration of impact of landowner election of Buy the Farm is an “issue outside the scope of the EIS” in recent Scoping Decision (Hampton-La Crosse 09-1448):

Now where’s that rule… I know it’s here somewhere!

Barr Engineering Complaint Before PUC Oct 4th


This Thursday, the PUC will be taking my the NoCapX 2020 Complaint against Barr Engineering of Conflict of Interest… again.


PUC staff recommendation is “no jurisdiction” and not action by PUC other than saying “no jurisdiction.”

PUC Staff Briefing Papers – October 4, 2012 Meeting

Here’s the filings on this — and no word from Barr Engineering on this, and they’re the respondent, together with Dept. of Commerce.  Not a peep from either of them.

Conflict of Interest Complaint Against Barr Engineering

Staff Briefing Papers for Barr Engineering Complaint, Sept 13, 2012 Meeting

Letter and Amended Complaint – September 10, 2012

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace