Scoping Mtg. TOMRROW – Rochester Gas Pipeline

Filed under:Laws & Rules,News coverage,Nuts & Bolts,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on February 28, 2016 @ 8:13 pm


Tomorrow it’s a meeting or two about a pipeline, but that’s not all… it’s about a gas plant at the beginning of this pipeline route!

First the pipeline — Minnesota Energy Resources Corporation is the applicant, and it’s PUC Docket 15-8858, a docket for a pipeline route on the west and southern edges of Rochester, Minnesota, starting at the “Westside” substation on the west side of town, along the big gas transmission pipeline that runs parallel with Hwy. 14.  From there it goes a section west, and then south and around to the east.


Meeting Presentation for tomorrow

And lo and behold, last week, Rochester Public Utilities announced its long planned natural gas generating plant for that same location as this pipeline starts, at 19th St. NW and 60th Ave. N. W.  This proposed plant was at issue during the CapX 2020 Transmission Certificate of Need docket, where RPU discussed building a natural gas plant in its RPU_34945_Report_June_2005.  Here’s the 2015_update_rpu_infrastructure_study.  During the CapX 2020 CoN hearing, that notion was pooh-poohed, but we knew better.  And voila, here it is!

First they brought it up at RPU Board meetings over the summer:

PUB- Resolution 4315 – Resolution: West Side Energy Station

Westside Energy Station Epc – Bids in Minnesota

And finally, last week, RPU made it’s plans to add new natural gas generation VERY public:

A New Generating Station for Rochester

Back in that CapX 2020 Certificate of Need proceeding (PUC Docket 06-1115) it was an issue because the “need” used to justify CapX 2020 transmission to Rochester was so very small that it could be met with this RPU planned natural gas plant.  Here’s what I wrote in the 2008 No CapX 2020 Initial Brief:

Most importantly, the need is overstated. In addition to modeling performed with all local generation off line, infrastructure planned was not considered. For example, in Rochester, there are FOUR 161kV lines planned that were not taken into consideration, and which could well serve Rochester’s needs. In addition, RPU, the Rochester utility, has planned for new generation at the West Side substation (Ex. 100, lower left corner), where two of those four lines will be connection to serve Rochester. Ex. 157, Report on the Electric Utility Baseline Strategy for 2005-2030 Electric Infrastructure, June 2005, Summary p. S-21-S-22. Specifically, this report recommends actions that have been taken by RPU, resulting in the Westside Substation and transmission from it to serve the city:

Consider taking options on approximately 100 acres of land within the RPU service territory near a high pressure gas line and transmission facilities under RPU control for installation of future combustion turbine capacity.

…Around 2014, assuming that new generation is required in accordance with the long range plan and that generation has not been installed in connection with the transmission issue, begin the process for installation of approximately 50-100MW of natural gas-fired generation for an inservice date of 2018. The generation should be low capital cost with as low an operating cost as is consistent with expected operating capacity factors.


Local load as a reason for CapX is not supported by the evidence. The need, even if assumed, can be met in other ways, and these small amounts, if assumed in its entirety, cannot justify a project of this size.

And here we are, deja vu all over again.  Guess we need to make sure that phased and connected actions are considered in this pipeline environmental review.

And another thing, this pipeline environmental review — the PUC, despite that Sandpiper case, ordered a “comparative environmental analysis.”

PUC_Order – February 3, 2016, PUC eDockets #20162-117966-01

Nope, that “environmental review lite” is NOT sufficient…

Xcel’s bogus demand forecast basis for CapX

arrowdownRemember Xcel’s CapX 2020 peak demand projections of 2.49% annual increase?  How wrong can they be?  And how unjustified was their basis for a Certificate of Need for CapX 2020?  And how are they held accountable for those gross misrepresentations?  But now it’s time to pay, and who will pay?  This is why the rate case in progress, PUC Docket 15-826, is so important.

On the other hand, I love it when this happens… Xcel Peak Demand is again DOWN!  There’s a trend, and it’s called decreased demand.  Demand has yet to exceed the 2007 peak, and now it’s 8 years…


Here’s the Xcel Energy SEC 10-K filed a couple days ago:

2015 – Xcel Energy 10-K

Is it any wonder they want to get away from a cost based rate a la their “e21 Initiative” scheme?  Particularly now that the bill for CapX 2020 is coming due and their newest rate case (PUC Docket GR-15-826) is now underway?

And the specifics, and note how they inexplicably forecast a 2016 peak of 9,327, which is based on a “normal weather conditions” assumption:

2015-Xcel Peak Demand Chart

Encourage public participation? Yeah, right…

Filed under:FERC,Laws & Rules,Rate Case - Transmission — posted by admin on February 10, 2016 @ 12:01 pm


I haven’t given out one of these in a long time, but here we go, the Horse’s Ass Award to Xcel Energy and Office of Administrative Hearings, based on the bias and double standards for participation and obstructions to intervention in the latest Xcel Energy rate case (PUC Docket GR-15-826).

Yes, Intervention in the rate case denied again:

20162-118122-01_Denial #2_Overland-NoCapX Intervention

And I quote:

Further, the Petition states that purposes for which No CapX 2020 was “specifically formed” (fn omitted) was to participate in dockets which are now closed, raising the question of why No CapX 2020 continues to exist.


H-E-L-L-O?!?!?!  This rate case docket is all about shifting the CapX 2020 and MISO MVP 17 project portfolio transmission costs from one scheme to another.   I specifically cited all the references to CapX 2020, MISO MVP, and transmission.

dohHere’s what has gone before…

Intervention Petition II

Xcel objection to second petition to intervene

Overland-NoCapX_Intervention Petition 2

Intervention Petition I

20161-117574-01_Order Denying Intervention Petition 1

No CapX 2020_Response to Xcel’s Objection

20161-116957-02_Xcel’s Objection to Intervention

NoCapX 2020 and Carol A. Overland_Intervention Petition Packet

And in a parallel track, note the double standard in pleading.

  • Note that Xcel has objected only to the Overland/No CapX 2020 intervention.
  • Note that Xcel has not objected to those who participated in the “e21 Initiative” which is the basis for this rate case “multi-year rate plan” and transmission shift.
  • Note how little the other “intervenors” say.
  • Note they do not state their interests.
  • Note they do not state how their interests are different from general ratepayers.
  • Note they do not state how their interests will not be represented by OAG and Commerce.

OAH has approved Interventions of “The Commercial Group,” “Suburban Rate Authority,” and “City of Mineapolis.”  I’m sure the approval of “Clean Energy Organizations” will soon follow, despite the lack of specific pleading and the apparent conflict with one “attorney” representing so many organizations that either have differing positions and interests, or which are adequately represented by other organizations and don’t need to intervene… funny how this double standard works…

Read the Petitions:

Petition to Intervene of the Commercial Group

Petition to Intervene of Suburban Rate Authority

Petition to Intervene 0f City of Minneapolis

Petition to Intervene 0f “Clean Energy Organizations”

Petition to Intervene of MN Chamber of Commerce

Check out each of these petitions.  Look at the pleading, what’s stated, and as importantly, what is NOT stated.  What are their interests?  How are the “interests” different than general ratepayers in their class?  How are their interests not represented by Office of Attorney General and/or MN Dept. of Commerce?

So what to do?  Participating in the public hearing is not sufficient, and if that’s the limited offering, well, there’s no Discovery for a public participant.  What’s next?  Fight for the privilege of an unfunded intervention, as if there’s nothing else to do?  The issues raised by Overland/No CapX 2020 will not be addressed otherwise.  And thos overt quashing of participation is not consistent with the “public” in “Public Utilities Commission” and the Commission’s mandate.

Meanwhile, FERC just denied the 2010 Petition for Intervention too in the case regarding the cost allocation for these CapX and MISO MVP projects, yes, that took them 5 1/2 years to do, so why now?  Check this out:

FERC Order – Docket ER09-1431 (p. 8)

Odd that should come up now… naaaah, not really.


Xcel Energy objects AGAIN! Of course…

Filed under:Rate Case - Transmission — posted by admin on February 2, 2016 @ 4:48 pm

MVP portfolio map

The rate case trudges on… I’d filed a SECOND Petition for Intervention, and Xcel has filed a SECOND objection:


Xcel Energy’s SECOND Objection to Overland/No CapX 2020 SECOND Petition to Intervene

Look how they’re framing this.  The “Clean Energy Organization” intervenors claim essentially that because they’ve intervened before they should be granted intervention status before, and not much more.  Most do not state a position, much less the specific interests in this rate case:

Clean Energy Organizations” – Petition to Intervene

Does Xcel Energy hold the “Clean Energy Organizations” to the standards that they think Overland/No CapX must meet?  Of cousre not.  No objection to the “CEO” intervention.  Different intervenors, different standards.

Check this objection:


Not relevant or appropriate?  It’s Xcel that wants to switch Construction Work in Progress payments into the general rate case, it’s Xcel that brought up the CapX 2020 and MVP projects and Schedule 26A in its testimony.  Benson Direct: CapX p. 8, 14, 17, 28, 39, 56-57 and Schedule 2 p. 3-4 of 11; MVP and Schedule 26A: p. 17, 58, 76-77, 87, 125-126.   Burdick: CapX 2020 p. 28-29; and transmission generally throughout:



From Burdick’s testimony, it’s a basis for their theory of the case!

And Xcel again trots out the claim that “Petitioners fail to demonstrate that any alleged relevant interest they may have in this proceeding is not already represented by the other parties.”  Xcel, please, demonstrate how they ARE represented by other parties?  Commerce?  The A.G.’s Office?  Noooooo…

And what’s Xcel’s final objection to the Overland/No CapX 2020 Intervention?



There’s no mention of the many No CapX 2020 interventions granted, including the CapX 2020 Certificate of Need (06-1115); CapX Brookings-Hampton Routing Permit with U-CAN (08-1474); the CapX 2020 Fargo to St. Cloud Routing Permit together with NoRCA (09-1056); the Hampton-La Crosse Routing Permit with North Route Group (09-1448); and the ITC MISO MVP 3 Minnesota/Iowa 345 kV (12-1053).  Xcel seems to have a difficult time with use of the word “with” in addressing those groups that have joined No CapX in these dockets which have interests represented by No CapX 2020.  No CapX 2020 has been granted many more Petitions for Intervention than have been denied.

CapX & MVP cost allocation and a stroll down memory lane…

Filed under:Cost Recovery,FERC,Rate Case - Transmission — posted by admin on @ 1:58 pm


Today a FERC order came out addressing a Petition for Limited Intervention Out-of-Time made by No CapX 2020 and United Citizens Action Network, filed on May 20, 2010, nearly 6 years ago.

FERC Intervention-NoCapX & U-CAN  FERC Docket ER09-1431

This was SO far back, 2010, back when the CapX Applicants and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission were ramming through CapX 2020 Certificate of Need BEFORE there was any cost allocation scheme solidified.


And it was at the time that MISO was hammering together the MISO MVP 17 project transmission Portfolio.

MVP portfolio map

Now that CapX 2020 transmission rate recovery is before the Commission, the Minnesota PUC, FERC goes back into history to make sure that No CapX 2020 and United Citizens Action Network are not part of the discussion:

ER09-1431_Order Denying Reconsideration (denial of No CapX & U-CAN Petition on p. 8)

So this just happens to come up when cost allocation and recovery are at issue in the Minnesota PUC Rate case… and Xcel’s attorney is working so hard to keep us out of that docket.


image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace