Xcel, CenterPoint and Minneapolis utilities

  • Article by: Editorial Board , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 27, 2013 - 4:58 PM

City-owned utilities issue distracts from achieving energy goals.

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supervon2Jul. 27, 13 5:15 PM

Just go to any country where they have socialist controlled utilities and you will find a very sorry life style where come to your house and count the number of televisions, radios and internet appliances and tack that on your bill. I bet you just can't wait for that in Minneapolis. Oh, and the service is LOUSY.

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jbpaperJul. 27, 13 5:58 PM

Before the Xcel haters get on here, let me point out a few things for you. They are a power company, not a spreadsheet, it's spelled Xcel not Excel. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC), aka the government, has the final say on what rates Xcel charges. Before you complain about rate increases, remember who is setting them. Xcel saying it would move the company headquarters out of Minneapolis in order to get better leverage in negotiations is no different than Mpls threatening to start a municipal utility to get better leverage. Before you complain about them not upgrading their grid, let me ask you this, would you spend that kind of money upgrading if you knew the city might kick you out? The smart thing to do would sign a longer agreement with an upgrade clause in it so that it makes financial sense to upgrade the grid.

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jarlmnJul. 27, 13 7:54 PM

We need to kick all 'greedy capitalist corporations' out of the People's Republic Of Minneapolis! And we should just directly confiscate all the infrastructure they have built! After all, as our Dear Leader said, "you didn't build that!" And then if we get any guff from you mean-spirited conservatives, we can just shut-off your silly FOX news and shut-down your lame Talk Radio, and turn-out those idiotic-looking 'energy-saving' light bulbs we made you buy! Comrades, call your Commissars on the Minneapolis City Council and support this glorious new people's initiative! (sarcasm)

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vegas2112Jul. 27, 13 8:30 PM

A lazy editorial. Speculate about costs by referencing Xcel's self-serving letter to customers. Parrots the same concerns found on these boards but provides absolutely no analysis on the benefits of municipalization. And in the end, sits on the fence without saying much. Not a very impressive effort.

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lechevalier5Jul. 27, 1311:22 PM

If the city takes over the power, given how well they manage everything else, I figure I'll need candles, kerosene lamps, a wood burning stove and an old fashioned "ice Box" if I want to keep living in the city.

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MZBKAJul. 27, 1311:35 PM

The city should stay with Xcel.

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motJul. 28, 13 8:05 AM

"good corporate citizen", Hey, check out the stray voltage story in the paper today. One man's cows today may be your kids tomorrow if the golden rule remains that 'those who have the gold make the rules'. Because the writer and most commentators do not understand what it means to change out a service territory, they fall back on the CEO's letter as the best source.

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swmnguyJul. 28, 13 9:01 AM

I'd love to see some of the relevant facts in the situation. So far I have seen none. I got the Xcel letter, and it pointed out the difficulty and expense of running an electrical system. I understand that.

I also understand that I already pay an electric bill every month, and we have frequent power outages in South Minneapolis, which Xcel's own personnel have told me are due to aging equipment that is being replaced on a piecemeal basis for reasons of profitability. OK, I expect that from a corporate vendor.

When it comes to CenterPoint, I notice over the past few years there have been a few explosions, and CenterPoint won't say anything about how and why they happened, except that it sure wasn't their fault. But in the meantime they've been pulling meters out of people's basements and mounting them outside, and running miles of yellow plastic piping under sidewalks. So something needs to be changed and replaced for some reason. Purely coincidental, I'm sure.

I grew up in the country, where private corporations were not interested in the expense of running power to far-flung farms. So the farmers got together and, with government help, formed co-ops and did it themselves. Once the co-ops had spent the money and were up and running, and customer/owners were getting dividend checks every year, then for-profit companies were interested. They gave us the same song-and-dance about how bad cooperative ventures always are, and how expensive and difficult it is to run a utility. Except we were already doing it, already paying for it, and we certainly knew we didn't need to send our money out of state to some tycoons who didn't care if our power was out or not. My mom would call Norville (I forget his last name) and tell him our power was out, and he would get in his pickup 5 miles away and drive along until he found where the problem was, and then he would fix it himself or get the work truck to fix it. Try that with Xcel.

Rather than the pro-corporate and anti-corporate fantasists, I'd like to hear some detail about quality and price of service, reliability and sustainability of power sources, long-term price trend forecasts from truly neutral observers, and comparisons between municipal and non-municipal areas in the US. I haven't seen any of that factual stuff yet.

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elmore1Jul. 28, 1310:05 AM

Based on the non-success of Block E, Riverplace, The Dome and soon to come Vikings Stadium it should be clear to residents of Mpls that the city consistently disappoints when they try to make things better. Stick with the existing utilities.

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basia2186Jul. 28, 1311:43 AM

Power corrupts, and it also makes politicians stupid. The state and the feds set the clean air limits. And the mpls. city council is more qualified because???? Fix the streets, work on blight and get the crime rate down. Utilities are not in your purview! !

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