Carol Overland - Legalectric

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Carol A. Overland, Overland Law Office -- Utility Regulatory and Land Use Advocacy
Updated: 13 min 19 sec ago

Xcel Energy Rate Case — Xcel taxes!?!

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 6:09pm

Really!  Xcel Energy has paid less than $1 million in federal income taxes in the 7 years from 2009 through 2015!

This is from the Direct Testimony of Nancy Campbell, Department of Commerce DER:

Campbell_DER_Direct Testimony_20166-122243-04

Here’s the Exhibit she refers to, scroll down to “NAC-20” at the very end, where you’ll find Xcel’s answer to IR 1171:


I’m looking into whether any intervenor or state agency is looking at the Xcel Energy proposal to take transmission out of CWIP rate adjustments and put into general rates.  There’s lots of testimony and so this is just the beginning…

Remember, this is the case where the ALJ denied Overland and No CapX 2020 intervention, saying, “Further, the Petition states that purposes for which No CapX 2020 was “specifically formed” (fn 22 omitted) was to participate in dockets which are now closed, raising the question of why No CapX 2020 continues to exist.”

Denial #2_Overland-NoCapX Intervention

Why No CapX 2020 continues to exist?  Perhaps to raise issues that no one else is raising?!?!  Oh, well, can’t have that, can we…

Categories: Citizens

Dairyland’s Q-1D South Environmental Assessment

Sun, 06/19/2016 - 5:35pm

Dairyland Power Cooperative’s transmission through Onalaska and La Crosse is something to see…

Dairyland Power Cooperative and USDA’s Rural Utilities Service has released the “Q-1D South” Environmental Assessment, open for Comment until July 1, 2016:

Q1-South_Environmental Assessment (BIG FILE)

And from Dairyland’s site:

Briggs Road to La Crosse Tap (Q-1D South) – Environmental Assessment

Comments are due July 1, 2016 — send to:

USDA’s Dennis Rankin:

(I’d also cc DPC’s Chuck Thompson:

By U.S. Mail:

Dennis Rankin

Environmental Protection Specialist

USDA Rural Utilities Service

1400 Independence Avenue S.W.

Mailstop 1571, Room 2242

Washington, DC  20250-1571

What’s to comment on?  I see two issues that should be sufficient to stop this project in its tracks — the debt load of Dairyland Power Cooperative and the physical setting of the project which too near and right over people’s homes.

Debt load — Dairyland Power Cooperative’s debt is excessive and should prohibit taking on more debt:

Dairyland Power Cooperative’s Annual Meeting was last week.  One purpose of an organization’s Annual Meeting is to discuss its financial status and approve plans going forward.

Dairyland depends on federal USDA/RUS loans to pay for its transmission expansion, such as the Q-1 transmission upgrades, including Marshland-Briggs Road and now the stretch from Briggs Road to North La Crosse south of I-90. Another USDA/RUS loan paid for Dairyland’s share of the CapX La Crosse line now blighting the bluffs. Dairyland will also be part owner of the MISO Hickory Creek to Cardinal line from Iowa to Madison. That’s a lot of transmission and loans.

Dairyland recognized this financial risk and lopsided debt/equity position, and in 2012 sought help from FERC_(DPC_Request4DeclaratoryOrder), requesting a hypothetical capital structure of 35 percent equity and 65 percent debt when its actual capital structure was 16.5 percent equity and 83.5 percent debt, and FERC did grant this relief in an Order for DPC for CapX 2020 (see FERC Docket, go HERE and plug in docket EL13-19-000).  That Order, and the 83.5/16.5% debt/equity ratio was prior to the present Q-1 D South project and the MISO MVP Hickory Creek to Cardinal transmission line.  Dairyland requested a “hypothetical” (bogus) debt/equity ratio to preserve its credit rating and enable low cost loans. The true debt level makes DPC a higher risk.

Are Dairyland members aware of the 83.5%/16.5 % debt/equity ratio and reliance on loans for major transmission projects? What’s the debt level where new projects are included? This new transmission enables increased power marketing and sales, a private purpose. Is this highly leveraged position for new transmission in the best interests of Cooperative members?

Physical setting of the project — it’s just too close!

The map way above is what the transmission system in the area looks like theoretically, according to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, but here’s what Dairyland’s Q-1 South line looks like on the ground:

Really… Here’s what it looks like from a satellite with the lines drawn in, on the far south:

Here’s what it looks like further north — look at all those homes:

And here’s what the Wisconsin PSC Code says about clearances in PSCW 114.234:

(2) Transmission lines over dwelling units. [Follows NESC 234C1b, p. 119] (Addition) Add the following paragraph c: c. Transmission lines over dwelling units. No utility may construct conductors of supply lines designed to operate at voltages in excess of 35 kV over any portion of a dwelling unit. This provision also applies to line conductors in their wind-displaced position as defined in Rule 234A2. Note: It is the intent under s. SPS 316.225(6) that the public not construct any portion of a dwelling unit under such lines. Note: The term “dwelling unit” has the meaning given in ch. SPS 316, which adopts by reference the definitions in NEC-2008. Note: See s. SPS 316.225(6) Clearance Over Buildings and Other Structures, which refers to ch. PSC 114 regarding clearance of conductors over 600 volts and the prohibition of dwellings under or near overhead lines. So look what Dairyland says about these clearance problems, first on page 3-3 of the Q1-South_Environmental Assessment in its discussion of alternatives, specifically joining with Xcel Energy, which has a similar line right through the community over homes and through yards on the other side of the highway: Though there’s no case law about this, Dairyland states, “This provision likely applies to Xcel as a public utility but not DPC as a cooperative.”  That’s pretty presumptive, with no basis for the presumption, DPC!  And they wiggle around again, claiming the code doesn’t apply to them 10 pages later: Do you buy that argument???  First, they don’t even cite the correct PSCW section, using “PSCW 114.234(a)(4)” rather than PSCW 114.234(a)(2).  Note they state that “public utilities may seek waivers of any rule expanding upon NESC requirements…”  But if they’re saying the code doesn’t apply to them, why would this apply to them and they can seek a waiver?  Under their argument that the PSC Code doesn’t apply to them because they’re a cooperative, then if that applied, then this would not apply to them either.  Or is it the opposite, that the Code does apply to them, they cannot rebuild the line under  and have to apply for a waiver to the PSC?  Which is it, Dairyland?  Oh, but wait, I thought part of why you’re doing it the way you are, applying to local governments, in this short segmented version of your Q-1 line, was that you don’t want to have to go to the PSC, that you’re trying to get around it… Segmenting, particularly segmenting to avoid environmental review, is not OK, Dairyland… Remember, comments are due July 1, 2016 — send to:

USDA’s Dennis Rankin:

(I’d also cc DPC’s Chuck Thompson:

By U.S. Mail:

Dennis Rankin

Environmental Protection Specialist

USDA Rural Utilities Service

1400 Independence Avenue S.W.

Mailstop 1571, Room 2242

Washington, DC  20250-1571

Categories: Citizens

#ImWithHer ? Ummmm…

Fri, 06/17/2016 - 1:59pm

I keep seeing #ImWithHer everywhere.  Somehow this is the hashtag adopted by Hillary supporters, maybe even promoted by Hillary Clinton herself.

Given the common use of “I’M WITH STUPID” to the extent that “I’m with…” will be invariably not end well for Hillary, why is this being used?

And it also opens her up to such obvious funnin’!


How stupid can they be?

Categories: Citizens

50 dead in anti-gay shooting in Florida

Sun, 06/12/2016 - 1:12pm

This is the worst hate crime in U.S. history.

50 Dead in Nightclub Shooting: ‘An Act of Terror and an Act of Hate’ What Happened at the Orlando Nightclub Shooting Mass Shooting At Orlando Gay Nightclub: What We Know Omar Mateen Had Concealed Carry License and Security License in Florida Orlando Shooter Legally Bought Guns Despite Previous Flags by FBI

And on the other side of the country today:

Man with weapons and explosives arrested; was going to LA Gay Pride parade, police say

The spin of much of the reporting and comments focuses on the religion of the shooter, and that’s misplaced and deceptive.  This is a hate crime.  The shooter’s father has reported that his son was very upset over seeing two males kissing recently:

Orlando nightclub shooter inspired by gay hate according to father

Many media outlets are reporting this with an anti-Muslim spin, which is off point.  And those using this spin are avoiding the anti-gay aspect, and that’s off point too.  But given the anti-gay hatred being spewed by so many “Christians” (C-I-N-Os in my view, there’s nothing Christian about hatred), it’s no surprise.  Franklin Graham is a good example, and he’s coming soon to Minnesota:

Franklin Graham’s detestable anti-gay statements

Franklin Graham’s effort to blacklist LGBT-friendly companies…

There’s so much anti-GLBT vitriol, consider the bizarre “Bathroom Brigade Brouhaha” with laws passed and inciting weird incidents of people being tossed out of bathrooms across the country (shouldn’t the concern be about straight male pedophiles?), particularly where in this Minnesotan’s memory, it’s the Sen. Larry Craigs of the world that demonstrate bathroom issues!

Here’s the scoop on anti-gay hate crimes:  FBI statistics in a 2014 report on 2013 hate crimes, as above, show that 21.3% of hate crimes (reported & deemed) are crimes based on the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of the victims.  That’s 1,262 reported crimes identified as “hate crimes” in 2013.  Looking for more current numbers…

On the other hand, this is what our country is about, an expression of American values, people lining up to donate blood:

Bloodbanks at capacity, donors urged to return in coming days

Make America Love Again!

Categories: Citizens

CA – Sanders picking up counties as votes counted

Sat, 06/11/2016 - 10:41am

Click for larger view.  This is from the California Secretary of State site, where they’re tallying the votes as the 2.5 million uncounted votes are counted.  Keep an eye on THIS page!  And compare with the LATimes CA Primary page, where they are NOT updating.  Letter-to-the-Editor sent to LA Times!

Bernie has picked up THREE COUNTIES — Glenn County up north, and San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara to the south.  This is just the beginning.  Makes sense that there are such shrill calls for Bernie to drop out.  No.  This is a contested nomination, and it is not over until it’s over.  And from the counties flipping, with 2.5 million votes to count, it looks like calling a winner is premature.  As is so much in this race.

Keep at it, California, count those votes!

Categories: Citizens

Over 640 Xcel customers without power

Sat, 06/11/2016 - 8:26am

Over 640 Xcel Energy customers (households, businesses) are without power here in Red Wing this morning after the storms came whipping through here yesterday afternoon.  Ours was out for a while, maybe an hour, and then back on.  Towards the west end of town, that’s another story, and they’re still without power.

Xcel Energy Outage Map

From the map, it looks like Eau Claire was very hard hit, with 2,300+ customers still without power.

The Dogometer predicted a bad storm about half an hour before it hit, evident when she firmly assumed the position under my desk.  Now she’s back to normal.


Categories: Citizens

The first Presidential candidate in my lifetime…

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 8:56am

Bernie Sanders is the first Presidential candidate that I’ve been able to wholeheartedly support, that I’ve very actively supported, in my how-did-that-happen-so-fast long lifetime of many elections.  I’m anxious, not eager, to see how the national convention plays out.

Yesterday, Clinton said:

“It never feels good to put our heart into a cause or a candidate you believe in and come up short,” she said. “I know that feeling well. But as we look ahead to the battle that awaits, let’s remember all that unites us.”

But Hillary Clinton is the candidate that falls short.  With the twists and spins and tricks of Clinton’s campaign, and knowledge that she cannot pull in crossovers and independents as Bernie could due to her baggage, I’m disappointed beyond placation.  Politics as usual is not acceptable.

Can Hillary Clinton salvage this?  For the sake of the party and the country and each and every one of us citizens, I think she needs to withdraw.

As if…


Categories: Citizens

Hollydale Xmsn Report at long last!

Tue, 06/07/2016 - 4:24pm

Remember Xcel Energy’s Hollydale Transmission Project that was derailed when it was clear it wasn’t needed, and so Xcel Energy withdrew the application with regular compliance reports on status of the project, and a promise of a need study so long ago???

Yeah, I’ve been forgetting too, it’s been so long.  Here’s Xcel Energy’s page on what’s now called the “Plymouth Project.”

But, here it is!!  Finally, it has arrived, the Hollydale System Assessment Report from Xcel Energy that we’ve all been waiting for:


Pay particular attention to the map above of the “study area,” and note that it is the Interstate 494/694 ring and Hwy 55 to the east and north where the problems are, and the problems are yellow and orange, and not red.  The problems are not in the area of the Hollydale substation and not to the west, towards Medina.

When do we start seeing problems?  Looks like it’s in 2036, 20 years from now, double the usual 10 year transmission planning outlook (hint, that means it STILL is not needed) — and note, again, the problems are to the east and north, along the highways:

I’ve got to scour this report, but I do not think that they’ve considered select placement of distributed generation, i.e., solar panels on all the big boxes in the areas above in red!  Or residential solar on those in yellow.  What’s so difficult about that?

Here’s their choice:

On the plus side, there’s new substations planned in the red territory.  On the minus side, they still want to utilize the Hollydale substation.  On the plus side, they plan to expand transmission using 34.5 feeders, which is what I promoted as a solution.  On the minus side, they plan to keep the 69 kV line through Plymouth, with an eye on utilizing it in the future.  On the PLUS side, they claim that there’s no impact on the Hollydale – Medina section of the 69 kV line, claim that there’s no change from present use and non-use, and for my clients in Medina, that’s a good thing.  On the MINUS side, they don’t propose to tear that “unused” 69 kV line down.  On the MINUS side, they don’t propose to put all the transmission and distribution underground.  And remember, just yesterday, when there was a large distribution outage due to wind out in the western suburbs?

So now, it’s time to read this report!


Categories: Citizens

DFL Convention yesterday

Sun, 06/05/2016 - 11:29am

Yesterday was the DFL State Convention, and it was a long, long day on not enough sleep.  I distinctly recall seeing the clock a little after 1 a.m., and the 6:45 a.m.alarm never went off.  A Convention is right up there with a root canal (which I WON’T do), so with all due haste I got my butt into the van and headed north.  Orchestra Hall?   I haven’t been there since Dexter Gordon, so you know how long ago that was!

Amid divisions, DFL leaders target Trump at state convention

Registration was an exercise in planning ineptness.  They ran out of registration forms.  Sound familiar?  Yeah, it’s like running out of ballots!  There is a set number of delegates and alternates, so why were there not sufficient registration forms?  I found one laying on a table, SCORE!

At registration, there’s a “voluntary” fee of $50 when pre-registered, and $65 at the door, but given how the party is pushing Hillary despite the state’s Sanders win, no, I’m not about to give the DFL money — Bernie gets my donations.  And so after winding through a long, long amorphous line, I finally got to the front of the line, said, “I’m here and I’m broke (I did have $1 and some change in my pocket)” and she said, “That’s OK, we love you anyway” with such sincerity!  Her attitude was a day brightener!

After registering, we had to go over to a different alphabetical section to pick up our credentials, and that was another YUGE line, well, many YUGE lines, and the good news was that the letters didn’t mean anything, we could jump to an open line.  I got registered, got my credentials, and got to the “Alternates” balcony (Alternates are not allowed on floor).  I later heard from others there were not enough blue bags with convention materials.  The Alternates section was up in the balcony… not long after I arrived, I was shuttled further up, to the THIRD FLOOR balcony, the second tier balcony, way, way up in the nosebleed section.

I sat through a few speeches, and jumped right on Gov. Dayton and Sen. Klobuchar when they brought up Hillary.  BOO HISS!  Why raise their support of the LOSER in Minnesota?  They should know better when the state went for Sanders by a landslide, 61.6% to 38.4%, with Bernie winning in every Congressional District:

Both Gov. Dayton and Sen. Klobuchar chose to bring up their support for Hillary, and they got the response they deserved, and then had the nerve to plea for “party unity” that followed their Hillary support.  Oh, please…  Their choice to be divisive and ignore the landslide support of Sanders in Minnesota could have, should have, been different.  Bad choice.  SHAME!  A few rounds of BOO-HISS is fully appropriate.  And for them to then pile on with “we need unity,” give it a rest.  They chose their divisive promotion.

There were co-chairs in charge.  O’Brien as a chair appeared at times unsure, confused and maneuvering/directing the process, but also not firm enough with the group and from my perspective, making some bad calls.  Melvin Carter was more direct and firm, pushing the process along.  It was so slow…

Just as I was getting ready to leave after a couple hours of these speeches that were so manipulative, I got word that I was being “upgraded” and to get ready to be a delegate and be seated with the Goodhue County group in the front row.  Another point of disorganization, we were assigned 7 seats for 9 delegates.  WTF?  This was a common problem raised by others that day, seats were assigned and there were not enough assigned seats.  They know how many delegates are allotted, so why this crap?

SNORT of the day:  When St. Paul’s mayor was introduced, and we were urged to welcome him, the captioning said, “POLICE WELCOME ST. PAUL MAYOR CHRIS COLEMAN.”  Really… after the 2008 RNC, no surprise there!

There was a Motion for “A Sense of the Convention” or some such, which had two parts, first, that the superdelegate system should be scrapped/reformed, and second, that at the 2016 national convention, the superdelegates should not vote or should vote according to MN caucus results:

This received a resounding YES! in proportion to Bernie v. Hillary supporters.  It took quite a while to get to the vote, and recount, but finally, YES!  Hope that will be heard by the superdelegates.

Most notably, there were not enough copies of the Resolutions on which we were supposed to vote. When voting time came, there was a call from the chair for people to pass on their copies to those who didn’t have them.  Sharing is good, but copies of documents we’re voting on is a pretty basic need and they should have been prepared.  The number of delegates is known, alternates didn’t get the bag of materials, so why were there not enough? And in the email to us, they could have told us to print them out and saved on copies by asking if we needed copies at registration.  Then it gets worse, “some” resolutions were taken off the ballot after the resolution ballot was sent pre-convention and after they were printed for convention packets, and somehow referred to the Central Committee!  Which ones?  Well, no one was saying, and it took repeated pushes to get that info.  What bullshit.  What resolutions were they?  24, 32, 41, 54, and 60!  Numbers only.  Great… What were they?

24. Support legislation (such as tax credits, loan forgiveness programs, and refinancing) to reduce Minnesota’s student loan debt.

32. Support legislation that requires all crude oil pipelines transiting Minnesota to have Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), to have financial assurances for spill and abandonment cleanup, and respect sovereign native territory.

41. Support health care as a basic right for everyone in our society, and take steps to ensure that everyone is able to receive a niminum level of health care including physical, mental and dental care.

54. Oppose sulfide ore mining, which is significantly different from taconite mining, poses unacceptable environmental risks, threatens multiple watersheds (Lake uperior, BWCA/VNP, Mississippi) and should not be allowed in the sulfur bearing rock of Minnesota.

60. Oppose fracking because of its damage to the environment and the resulting burden on future generations.

Interesting combo there…  This finagling is a problem.

Then, when it was time to vote on delegates to the DNC Convention in Philly, the set up at Orchestra Hall was poor.  What were they thinking?  On the other hand, SNORT, as reported in the STrib:

To elect national delegates, Bernie Sanders supporters remained in Orchestra Hall and Hillary supporters were herded into a smaller room without chairs. They were grumpy about it.

For the Sanders delegate elections, it took a while to get a moderator, but moderating was handled well.  First, there was no procedure or a complete list of those who were running.  WHAT?  So that had to be established…

And then we started with a poor play by Sanders crew — they proposed a slate of 10 delegates, and 2 of them weren’t even present!  Oh my… bad move.  And that was soundly rejected.  We did get the 8 of them onstage, but at that time, we didn’t even get any info about them other than their names.  No one who doesn’t show should be allowed to be a national delegate.  The group soundly rejected this slate (who all were allowed to be part of the following delegate cattle call).  I hope the campaign got the message, though I’ll send them one directly too.

For the potential national Bernie delegates, there would be 9 women and 7 men, and 4 alternates.  For applicants, there was only a sheet from THURSDAY (!?), on a Saturday, in teeny tiny print with just under 200 names, and many more applied after Thursday, so for sure over 200 were wanting to be national delegates. That’s a lot!  Essentially, 10% of those who wanted to be a delegate would be selected.

After spending at least an hour, maybe two, nailing down the delegate selection process, we had a parade of delegates.  This was the best part of the day.  The parade of delegates was the most diverse, devoted, dedicated bunch ever.  Some were brand new to voting and politics, some were grizzled old farts, some were long-time dedicated party workers, some wore suits, some wore shorts (“I’m the short guy in shorts!” said one), some Native, some first generation immigrants, some new to Minnesota from other states, some L or B or G or T or some mix of identification, some small business owners, some disabled, some union members (Teamster & Stagehands 13), some urban, some suburban, some rural, some students, like wow!  Their allotted 30 second elevator speeches were great, inspiring.  THIS is what DEMOCRACY looks like.  This group was Minnesota, the essence of our state, and made me so proud to be Minnesotan and part of this Convention.  I can’t say enough good things about this group of Bernie supporters.  Looking forward to hearing who all was selected.  Oh, here’s the list:

1. Muhammad Abdurrahman
2. Gabe Aderhold
3. Michael Gibino
4. John Neitge
5. Frank Hornstein
6. Keith McClain
7. Will Moore
A1. Michael Bearfoot
A2. Jacob Mazurek

1. Yishu Dài
2. Mara Glubka
3. Shakia McDavid
4. Erika Onsrud
5. Shauna Kaylene Wimmer Valdez
6. Margaret Breen
7. Nelsie Yang
8. Lisa Bender
9. Ashley Fairbanks
A1. Fartun Weli
A2. Susan Wolfe


Categories: Citizens

Another exploding oil train — Oregon this time

Fri, 06/03/2016 - 5:13pm


Also from KOIN TV

It’s happened again, this time on the other end of the country, in Oregon in the Columbia Gorge, near the river and near homes in Mosier, OR, where the derailment occurred.  Oil has leaked, exploded in flames, and at least 8-10 cars are derailed.

Oregon train derailment spills oil, sparks fire

Oil train derails, on fire in Columbia River Gorge

Oil train derails near Mosier, Oregon, smoke visible for miles

Oil train derailment, fire in Columbia Gorge evacuates Mosier schools, I-84 shut down

Categories: Citizens

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