Workshop to Offer Prudent Steps to Position Your Utility for Customer Solar & Wind Generation

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Workshop to Offer Prudent Steps to Position Your Utility for Customer Solar & Wind Generation

November 1, 2017

All municipal electric utilities need to have certain rules in place and understand state law requirements when a customer seeks to install solar or other electric generating equipment. A growing number of utilities are finding themselves unprepared to deal with these situations, which are becoming more common.

To help municipal utilities prepare for these issues, MMUA has scheduled a series of regional workshops. These workshops are designed to provide you with the materials and information your utility needs to be in compliance with state law and to be able to handle the many customer interconnection issues that can arise and otherwise lead to trouble. It's important for every municipal electric utility to attend one of these sessions.

MMUA, along with Star Energy, has developed a set of model rules with a contract template specifically for use by municipal utilities to affirm local control while following state law as required. At any one of four regional half-day training sessions hosted by MMUA, municipal utilities can receive the tools and knowledge they need to serve customers seeking to interconnect solar, wind and other generation.

Our lead instructor is Kristi Robinson of Star Energy Services, along with Bill Black of MMUA.

Date/Location Options are:

For more information or to register, click on the desired date/location above.

More information:

Municipal utilities can govern customer generation interconnections ONLY IF they officially adopt appropriate regulatory rules, rates and contract forms pursuant to state laws related to distributed generation (DG). Without the right procedures in place, municipal utilities may be subject to DG regulatory scrutiny by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC). As customers are increasingly interconnecting to the grid statewide, it is extremely important that each municipal utility adopt these regulatory tools and understand how they affect customer and utility rights and obligations. 

Since 1983, state DG law has allowed for municipal utility governing bodies to implement its provisions in place of the MPUC, upon local adoption of rules “consistent with” MPUC-promulgated rules. Many utilities have not adopted rules because customers have not shown an interest in wind or solar — yet. However, solar panel prices have fallen substantially in recent years AND federal tax subsidies that make them more affordable were renewed in 2016. Is your utility ready?

Even though a 2017 state law change eliminated a MPUC customer dispute resolution process for municipals and cooperatives, a municipal utility without its own rules in place still could be subject to control by the MPUC. 

And utilities that have not yet adopted rules in compliance with state law or have an incomplete understanding of their utility’s role could find themselves discussing interconnection issues with customers or installers who have a better understanding than they do of a customer’s rights and the utility’s obligations. Every municipal electric utility should avoid this situation by attending one of these regional training sessions and bringing home its valuable materials.

A printable brochure for this regional workshop is also available.

We hope to see you there.

 

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