Let the PUC Do Its Job

Rev. Dwight Wagenius’ remarks at a recent press conference, sharing our opposition to HF113, which would build a Natural Gas plant in Becker, MN.

I’m Rev. Dwight Wagenius, the Community Minister at Mayflower UCC in South Minneapolis. Mayflower is a partner of the organizers of this event — MNIPL and ISAIAH. I’m the chair of the Board of Directors of MNIPL.

I’m here to tell you about a letter to the authors of HF 113 signed by 66 ministers and other faith leaders of congregations whose members are residential electric utility customers of Xcel Energy, ratepayers. The letter expresses the concerns of those leaders over HF 113 which would authorize Xcel Energy to construct a natural gas power plant at Becker, MN.

Xcel wants to lock in the highest cost option by building the biggest plant it can. That would lock in the largest amount of fuel that will need to be paid for. Xcel would recover through rates the cost of building the plant, the cost of building a natural gas pipeline to serve the plant, and the cost of all the gas used in the plant each year.

The more they spend, the bigger their profit and bigger the dividends to their shareholders, all paid for by Xcel’s ratepayers, by us. The lower that any ratepayer’s income is, the bigger the portion of that income that will go to Xcel. This is corporate welfare. It’s wrong. It’s not just.

As ratepayers and representing ratepayers in their congregations, the faith leaders signing the letter are offended that this bill allows the plant to bypass the guardian of ratepayers, the PUC. Let the PUC do its job.

The faith leaders who signed this letter, and all of us, are called to be good stewards of the earth and its resources. We are called to stand with and for people who will be harmed by implementation of this bill.

This bill is not just. We urge Governor Dayton to veto the bill when it comes to him for signature. Governor Dayton, veto this bill.