Local Democracy / Distributed Generation

Legislation that ensures decisions impacting member-owners of cooperatives are made locally.

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During the 2017 legislative session, the Minnesota legislature passed and the governor signed a provision that reduces duplicative regulation on your electric cooperative. This local democracy legislation returns some balance to the regulatory process, ensuring decisions that impact member-owners of cooperatives are made locally by your elected board of directors.

While electric cooperatives are already locally regulated in most areas, this legislation made an important clarification, one that will allow for innovation in response to members’ needs and wants for years to come. The legislation impacts the distributed generation section of statute and brings it in line with the rest of Minnesota Statute as it applies to rates, fees and charges of electric cooperatives. Electric cooperatives still must follow the law as laid out by the legislature in this section. The provision that the legislature recently passed and the governor signed allows for cooperatives to adopt the authority implementing this section of statute (Minnesota Statute 216B.164). To do so a cooperative has to pass a resolution adopting this authority and adopt rules implementing this section of statute.

The municipal utilities in Minnesota have had similar authority in Minnesota for over 30 years. With the passage of the provision, the legislature affirmed the value of local decision making for rural electric cooperatives across Minnesota. As your locally owned cooperative we know that local decision-making can result in rates and services that reflect our community’s needs while assisting in keeping administrative costs down.

At the Aug. 29, 2017, meeting of your electric cooperative board of directors, the adoption of this authority was addressed. Directors and staff reviewed the applicable law (MN 216B.164) resulting in an adoption of a resolution and rules implementing the section of statute. The purpose of this change is to secure local decision-making, not to substantively change the way your cooperative interacts with distributed generation. A noticed was placed on our website as well as in our August issue of our monthly publication (Rural DeLight) inviting those who wished to attend the August board meeting to discuss the rules implementing this statute. Members were asked to contact Wild Rice Electric at 218-935-2517 by Aug. 18 so their name could be placed on the agenda.

Co-Generation Notification to Members:

In compliance with Wild Rice Electric Cooperative adopted rules relating to co-generation and small power production, Wild Rice Electric Cooperative is obligated to interconnect with and purchase electricity from co-generators and small power producers whom satisfy the conditions as a qualifying facility. Wild Rice Electric Cooperative is obligated to provide information free of charge to all interested members upon request regarding rates and interconnection requirements. All interconnections require an application and approval to become a qualifying facility. Any dispute over interconnections, sales and purchases are subject to resolution by Wild Rice Electric Cooperative Board. Interested members should contact Wild Rice Electric Cooperative, 502 N Main St, Mahnomen, MN 56557 or call 1-800-244-5709.
Wild Rice Electric has joined Minnkota and the Joint System on a Petition for PURPA Waiver. Click below to review the petition.

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solar generation

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