CenterPoint Energy partners with Minneapolis environmental group

  • Article by: Maya Rao , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 23, 2013 - 9:08 PM

The two parties urge that the utility be excluded from a possible referendum on Minneapolis takeover of services.

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ken51mJul. 24, 1312:30 AM

"some say putting municipalization on the table will give the city crucial leverage in its negotiation with the utility companies." I am sure it would, maybe governments should threaten to take over all businesses as a leverage tool for negotiation. Who knew it could be so easy... just transfer the private assets to municiple ownership.

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swmnguyJul. 24, 13 6:18 AM

The question of whether or not to have utility service in Minneapolis as a municipal is worth exploring. With all respect to Councilperson Glidden, the issue is not whether or not CenterPoint can cooperate with an environmental group. Given enough incentive, such as the threat of losing a lucrative monopoly, it's a foolish company indeed that can't "greenwash" themselves for as long as necessary. And it's worth noting that CenterPoint doesn't mine natural gas themselves; they are middlemen, just as a possible municipal gas company would be(We could call it "The Minneapolis Gas Company," or maybe "MinneGasCo" for short, as an exotic idea).

As a Minneapolis resident, I can think of reasons a municipal utility approach would be great for citizens. I can also imagine possible negatives. I'm more inclined to dump Xcel than CenterPoint, but the studies need to be done.

I am concerned that Councilperson Glidden is so easily impressed by CenterPoint's easily predictable strategic move. She's my Ward's councilperson. I've seen other circumstances in which a Democratic politician wanted to maintain "activist cred," but was then very easily played off by a corporate PR move not because the pol was really so gullible, but because the pol was already in the corporate pocket and the whole thing was mere posturing in the first place. I'll be watching Glidden closely. The last thing we need is a corporate-owned collaborator in greenwashing.

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Willy53Jul. 24, 13 7:12 AM

I'm in total agreement with swmnguy. Centerpoint does have the monopoly and would be a fool not to comply with the incentives under the threat of loosing their most valuable contract in the state. For the record, Centerpoint is much easier to work with and flexible in providing new services than Xcel. In a word, less arrogant.

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gofig999Jul. 24, 13 7:57 AM

Owning and maintaining the underground systems to deliver natural gas is not an easy undertaking. CenterPoint Energy has done an outstanding job for over 100 years. Does the City of Minneapolis think it would be that easy to take over this responsibility? How many people would they need to hire? They operate the water/sewer service and I can list several broken mains with resulting problems. While an aging water main infrastructure failing will not cause and explosion, it has caused damage and inconvenience. Let the energy experts continue to operate the underground gas supply!

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ellasauntieJul. 24, 13 9:17 AM

gofig999, I couldn't agree with you more. The city can talk all it wants about municipalization of natural gas service, but when it comes down to it, how would they even begin to approach such a massive undertaking? I'm afraid to even speculate on how much additional money would that cost Minneapolis residents. In addition, the inevitable problems the city would have getting this off the ground would be astronomical. It's not like you can just say, "CenterPoint is out and Minneapolis is in" and flip a switch. The logistics would be very complicated. CenterPoint has delivered gas for over a century and done it well. If it aint broke, don't fix it.

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Start Moving AheadJul. 24, 1311:45 AM

The threat of Municipal confiscation will only cause higher energy costs for Minneapolis residents. If YOU want to decrease YOUR carbon foot print, then buy a high efficiency furnace & ac unit, insulate your house, or get new windows. It is not the responsibility of the sellers of energy or other tax payers to do it for you. It's your responsibility.

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laughingstocJul. 24, 13 3:32 PM

Just when you think the Minneapolis City Council couldn't get any worse, they propose something as preposterous as this. This city is going broke as is, and now they want to buy a power grid with a price tag that could run as high as several billion dollars. Xcel/NSP has been running the grid in Minneapolis for over 100 years, and doing a great job. Look at the storm that came through a few weeks ago, Xcel brought in 1000 trucks to restore power, Minneapolis would never have that capability. Please do the responsible thing and keep our grid in Xcel's hands.

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thedanmanJul. 24, 13 8:18 PM

Making deals with a bunch of recent college activist graduates that know nothing about energy and what it takes to get it to your house. Laughable. Next they'll be running for public office.

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