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2015 Legislative Summary

Actions taken by Minnesota legislators during the 2015 session will help control costs for electric cooperative members and keep co-op employees safe in the field.

In the Transportation Bill, utility vehicles were added to the short list of parked vehicles motorists need to pass with care, moving over to the lane farthest away if possible. This provision will increase the safety of our crews working in the field.

A FEMA match provision was included in the Jobs and Economic Development Bill. It provides access for electric cooperatives to the state-cost share for federal disaster relief funding. This 25% state match will provide electric cooperatives in Minnesota needed funds to rebuild lines and restore power after disasters strike.

Modest net metering reform was also included in the Jobs and Economic Development Bill. This reform allows consumer-owned utilities (including electric cooperatives) to charge a fee to recover a portion of the costs of serving net metered facilities. The fee must be reasonable and will not discourage the growth of cost effective distributed generation. The reform also allows for a rolling credit option for net metered facilities that expires at the end of each year.

With support from the Department of Natural Resources, a $5,000 application fee was removed for utilities seeking to cross public lands and waters. Licensing fees remain under the new language, but the application fee was removed.

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