Public Utilities Commission votes to require underground Midtown transmission lines

Midtown Greenway protected for locals, businesses, visitors and commuters

The City of Minneapolis applauds the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission decision today to require new high voltage transmission lines to be placed underground along 28th Street East instead of above ground on the greenway. During recent testimony Xcel Energy, which is seeking to add higher capacity power lines to south Minneapolis, also supported burying the lines under 28th Street.

State law requires that transmission lines be placed in a reasonable and prudent location, and public testimony showed that it was not reasonable and prudent to locate the line above ground in such a densely populated area next to historic and recreational resources. In 2009 the City of Minneapolis passed a resolution supporting burying the lines if it was determined that the additional high voltage lines were in fact needed and were not avoidable through energy conservation and renewable energy sources. The co-authors of the resolution were 9th Ward Council Member Gary Schiff, 6th Ward Council Member Robert Lilligren and 2nd Ward Council Member Cam Gordon.

The Public Utilities Commission also today informed the applicant and staff that it wanted to separately consider how to allocate costs among rate payers. The City of Minneapolis and Xcel Energy both support allocating the cost statewide among all rate payers, which is the standard approach. The Public Utilities Commission will schedule a hearing to consider whether some other cost allocation among rate payers may be appropriate. Xcel Energy will prepare a petition, and the Public Utilities Commission will schedule the issue for public comment.

Visit the Public Utilities Commission and Xcel Energy websites for more project information.

Published Jan. 12, 2012