THE RECENT INCREASE IN MERGER ACTIVITY IN THE energy and telecommunications industries has concerned state regulators for some time. Such concern reveals how the practical or "local" aspects of...
Minnesota DPS Blasts NSP Ethics
In a final decision issued December 6, Commissioner Kris Sanda of the Minnesota Department of Public Service (DPS) found that Northern States Power Co. (NSP) threatened the St. Paul Neighborhood Energy Consortium (Docket No. G,E002/CC-94-426). The consortium claimed NSP said it would withhold a contract to perform home energy audits if its Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) did not support dry-cask nuclear waste storage at NSP's Prairie Island nuclear plant.
While acknowledging the threat, Sanda found no evidence that the newly implemented bid process was tainted. Hence, the utility was not ordered to rebid, and its audit contract with the winner, Enervision, stands. However, Sanda noted that while the negative impact on the CIP process could not be quantified, the CIP process certainly had been adversely affected. The commissioner ordered NSP to report any disciplinary actions taken in response to the decision, and to explain how it will prevent similar events from occurring in the future. The utility will be denied recovery of any costs associated with the investigation. (em LB
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