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Minneapolis keeps improving its green factor, according to Sustainlane.com, a website devoted to sustainable living. The city is ranked seventh in sustainable living, which is based on 16 factors, including public transit ridership, housing affordability, air quality and water supply.
Last year Minneapolis ranked 10th.
The website cited our bike friendliness, growth in farmers markets and even our hybrid-vehicle-driving mayor. "They'll also benefit from a strengthened land use and development policy that encourages dense, green development along transit corridors," the rankings noted.
The West Coast had a lock on the top three spots: Portland, San Francisco and Seattle each held their 1, 2, 3 rankings from a year ago. The worst of the country's 50 largest cities were Mesa, Ariz. (50), Oklahoma City (49) and Tulsa, Okla. (48).
KAREN LUNDEGAARDPower rankings
Even though gasoline bills have increased an average of 6 percent, Americans are more satisfied with their gas utilities. That's from a J.D. Power and Associates ranking of utilities out this week.
The increased satisfaction comes from better communication, particularly concerning energy conservation tips or environmental issues. The average ranking was 640 on a 1,000-point scale, up 12 points from last year.
Minnesota's CenterPoint Energy led the Midwest rankings, tied with MidAmerican Energy in Iowa, at 664 points. Xcel Energy Inc. ranked seventh in the Midwest, at 637 points, which still put it higher than the regional average of 21 Midwest companies.
But Xcel didn't fare as well out West. There the Minneapolis-based utility ranked dead least of nine Western utilities. Xcel, which provides electricity and natural gas, serves seven other states: Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.
The study of 29,000 customers of the 60 largest gas utilities serving 48 million households measured customer satisfaction in six areas: company image, communications, price and value, billing and payment, customer service and field service.