The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Thursday ordered that a power line to be built through the heart of south Minneapolis be buried, but deferred the issue of which ratepayers bear the extra $13.6 million cost.

The PUC granted a certificate of need to Xcel Energy for the 115-kilovolt line and two related substations to be built two blocks north of Lake Street between Hiawatha and Oakland avenues.  It agreed with state permitting staff, the city and community activists that burying the line under E. 28th St. is the best option.

The decision was a victory for those who worried about transmission lines looming over the Midtown Greenway, a public bike and pedestrian corridor that runs one block north of Lake Street.

The commission ordered Xcel Energy to file within 30 days its arguments on how the cost of burying lines should be allocated among ratepayers.  The city favors spreading that cost over all of Xcel's Minnesota customers.