Readers Write: (July 26): City-owned utilities, 'cycle tracks,' royal family

  • Updated: July 25, 2013 - 6:18 PM

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Minneapolis idea is poorly received

I recently received a letter from Xcel Energy informing me that the Minneapolis City Council is considering taking over energy utilities, both gas and electric. After rolling on the floor laughing in disbelief, I came to a conclusion. The City Council would screw up the day-to-day operation of a simple corner KoolAid stand.

CHARLES A. QUIST, Minneapolis

• • •

While I recognize that the letter from Xcel regarding the Aug. 1 City Council hearing is part of a public-relations campaign on Xcel’s part, I also found that it carried some valid points. My comments are in parentheses after each point.

1) The city would take on sole responsibility for the operation of gas and electric utilities. That means storm cleanup, too. (Can we trust Minneapolis to be as prompt about answering loss-of-power calls as Xcel is? I just want the city to provide fire and police protection and to clear snowy streets on a timely basis.)

2) The city’s residents would foot the bill to acquire Xcel’s billions of dollars worth of property. (I don’t know about you, but my property taxes are high enough already.)

3) Municipal utilities don’t have to answer to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. (This means Minneapolis could raise gas and electrical rates any time it wanted without seeking permission. I can see a lot of useless pet projects funded by my electric bill.)

Please, Minneapolis, stick to governing and leave the electrical work to those who know what they’re doing.


• • •

Creating a municipal gas and/or electric utility would not be in the best interests of residents, taxpayers or consumers. The costs outweigh any benefit; the potential for negative consequences for the city’s bond ratings are substantial, and the decision would be a detriment to residents because municipal utilities are exempt from many state laws and regulations that apply to for-profit utilities.

Municipal utilities work in smaller towns. They are not for the largest city in Minnesota.

WILLIAM A. LEVIN, Minneapolis

• • •

The city’s presumption is that if it removes the profit motive, it can provide gas and electricity at lower cost. However, I’m sure that left out of that consideration is the cost of unionized workers and the unions’ incestuous relationship with the DFL Party that has a stranglehold on running this particular soviet.

BRENT J. CHRISTEN, Minneapolis

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