Carol Overland - Legalectric

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Carol A. Overland, Overland Law Office -- Utility Regulatory and Land Use Advocacy
Updated: 1 hour 41 min ago

ATC/ITC/Dairyland’s Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 5:29pm

Be there or be square — transmission open houses in eastern Iowa near Dubuque and southwestern Wisconsin near Cassville.

Monday, May 16 –
Peosta Community Center
7896 Burds Road
Peosta, IA 52068

Tuesday, May 17 –
Pioneer Lanes
1185 US (Business) 151
Platteville, WI 53818

Wednesday, May 18 –
Deer Valley Lodge
401 West Industrial Drive
Barneveld, WI 53507

Thursday, May 19 –
Deer Valley Lodge
401 West Industrial Drive
Barneveld, WI 53507

Where’s Art Hughes when you need him??

Art Hughes has died…  March 31st, 2009

Days before he died, Art Hughes was testifying in Peosta against an ITC transmission line heading east to Peosta, here’s the photo from that hearing, and the article about it is in the “Art Hughes has died…” link above.

And now they’re doing another round of open houses, yesterday in Peosta, IA.  Wherefore Art thou?  Well, Art, where are you?  I guess they remember him, because this time it’s “open house” and not a meeting/hearing.  These “open houses” are held by ATC, ITC, and Dairyland about its plan for the Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Project.  This project is the southern part of the “5” project on the MISO MVP project map below, from the Hickory Creek substation (near Dubuque) to the Cardinal substation (near Madison)(the northern part of 5 is the Xcel/ATC Badger Coulee line).  It’s one of the transmission lines that fills in the 345 kV transmission gaps to enable North & South Dakota to Chicago bulk power transfer.

Once more with feeling: Open House Schedule — each starts at 4 p.m. and goes until 7 p.m. (hello, ITC, it’s planting season, how convenient!):

Monday, May 16 –
Peosta Community Center
7896 Burds Road
Peosta, IA 52068

Tuesday, May 17 –
Pioneer Lanes
1185 US (Business) 151
Platteville, WI 53818

Wednesday, May 18 –
Deer Valley Lodge
401 West Industrial Drive
Barneveld, WI 53507

Thursday, May 19 –
Deer Valley Lodge
401 West Industrial Drive
Barneveld, WI 53507



Categories: Citizens

Hollydale Meeting May 25, 2016

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 2:43pm

A shindig has been announced, at which Xcel Energy will unveil its plans, the options it has deemed “alternatives” to the Hollydale Transmission Project.

Xcel Energy’s Hollydale “Open House”

May 25, 2016 from 12-2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m.

Medina Ballroom

500 Highway 55

Medina, Minnesota

Heard some time ago that this was in the works, and made a scheduling request, overtly received with intent to schedule around time I could not attend… well, so much for that.  Gee, thanks, folks!  PPPPPPPPPFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFBT!

Now, on to the Hollydale Transmission Project.  This is the project that Xcel withdrew, because it was apparent that it wasn’t needed… well, Xcel would never admit that, but it was going down in flames:

Xcel and Great River pull the plug on Hollydale applications


This is a project that was first applied for in 2011, 5 years ago!  That project was a plan to run a 115 kV transmission line through Plymouth and Medina to a substation way to the west, when the “problem” was increased demand along 694 and Hwy. 55.  DOH!  What’s not to object to!  Here’s what they’d originally proposed:

So after the project was withdrawn, without prejudice (they can re apply), they embarked on a “study” to determine options.  That was so long ago…

Hollydale Order – Withdrawn with conditions

May 12th, 2014

For ages, they’ve been saying they’re working on this report, and have been saying “it’s not finalized” (this is NOT rocket science, it’s only engineering and transmission planning and PR spin, what takes so long?  I guess it takes this long to come up with justifications and twist the data to make it look reasonable and needed?).

Compliance Filing_July 2015_20157-112044-01

Compliance Filing_April2016_20164-119743-01

From that April Compliance Filing, here’s their plan for this meeting:

It would help to be able to review the “study.”  So I left a message with Xcel Energy at 612-330-6644, the number provided on the meeting notice (no name, but I presumed Tom Hillstrom is still in charge of this) asking for the study.  Because I got voicemail, I also called the attorney assigned to this:

No “little birdie” here, and something’s fishy — no “study” is forthcoming to study because “it is not finalized yet.”  Sent an email to with the same request.  Oh please… it has been YEARS!  Pretty tough to argue for any of your “options” when you don’t have anything to back it up!

My clients are on the Medina end of this, and each project blurb notes that “The existing 69 kV transmission line west of the Hollydale Substation will remain unchanged on all three of these alternatives”

Here’s the three they’re proposing:

View Alternative A Map (PDF)

View Alternative B Map (PDF)

View Alternative C Map (PDF)

Alternative C what looks to be the worst one of the three — to energize the existing 69 kV line through this Plymouth subdivision, much of which is directly over a walkway/bike path:

View Alternative C Map (PDF)

And once more with feeling, Xcel says that “The existing 69 kV transmission line west of the Hollydale Substation will remain unchanged on all three of these alternatives.”  GOOD!  But… will that hold true for the foreseeable future?  What’s the “Long Term Conceptual Plan” on the maps?  That’s why I want to see this study, because past experience with Xcel Energy is that once they propose something, they work it until they get it, one way or another.

From the Xcel “Plymouth Project” site:

Categories: Citizens

Xcel demand down, down, down…

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 9:26pm

Once again, Xcel Energy’s demand is down.  From Seeking Alpha’s Transcript of Xcel’s 1Q Earnings Call (click on the quote for the full transcript):

Turning to our sales results, although the economy in our region remains strong and we continue to add customers, our weather-adjusted electric sales declined by 0.3%. Further adjusting for the impact of an extra day of sales in the quarter due to leap year, our weather-adjusted electric sales actually declined by 1.4%. The decline in sales is largely driven by lower use per customer from energy efficiency, an increase in the number of multi-family units, the impact of distributed solar and the impact on consumption of lower oil and natural gas prices on some of our larger customers.

As a result, we have lowered our full-year electric sales growth assumption to 0.5% from 0.5% to 1% range. We continue to expect positive sales growth for the full year in all jurisdictions, due to customer growth as well as planned expansion from some of our larger customers.

After Xcel’s decreased demand last year, well, let’s just say I love it when this happens:

Or more specifically:

9,327?  I think not…

Remember how off Steve Rakow, Minnesota Dept. of Commerce, tried to pass off the most incredible chart?  This was during the CapX 2020 Certificate of Need when the record was showing there just wasn’t going to be that 2.49% peak demand increase that the project relied on.  Rakow was allowed to enter this bogus chart:

Rakow tried to convince us, and did convince the ALJ and Commission, that Xcel Energy’s demand was going up, it was “just a blip” and demand would increase sufficiently high to justify CapX 2020 transmission!  What a crock…

Meanwhile, even Xcel Energy admits that demand remains down, and with this Earnings Call, dropped its projection.  As Xcel’s Ben Fowkes said recently, I think at the year end call, this is the “new normal.”

Are earnings calls transcripts entered into the rate case record?

Categories: Citizens

Public Hearing Schedule for Xcel Rate Case

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 1:24pm

The Public Utilities Commission has approved the Public Hearing Notice for the Xcel Energy Rate Case to be included in bills and publicized where ever.  We’ve got some notice to get prepared:

Lo and behold, there’s one scheduled for Red Wing!!  Thanks for small favors…

What are the issues in the rate case?  Check the docket by going HERE TO PUC SEARCH DOCUMENTS PAGE, and search for docket 15-826.

A couple of things you might find interesting, I did, are some of the Direct Testimony filings.

2A2_Multi-Year Rate Plan – Burdick_201511-115332-02


In addition to whining about the grid being only 55% utilized (ummm, yes, we knew it wasn’t needed, but you went ahead and built it and now want us to pay through the nose, or other orifices, for your transmission for market export?  ppppppbbbbbbft!), here’s the issue — prices have fallen, the market is down, down, down, and we’re conserving, using less, and so now they want us to pay more to make up for it, oh.  Recap:  Xcel Energy wants us to pay for the transmission over our land for their private profit, they want us to pay more because we’re using less, and they want us to make up for their poor business decisions… yeah, great idea.

This rate case and rate increase request is in large part transmission driven.  Xcel wants to move from cost based rates to formula rates, and they want to shift transmission costs from the Construction Work in Progress recovery that was part of the deal leading to the 2005 Ch 97 – Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell, with transmission perks, CWIP and Transmission Only Companies.

And then there’s the e21 Initiative, Xcel Energy’s effort leading up to the 2015 legislative session, and it seems that with the exception of AARP, only those who signed on to the e21 “Consensus” are allowed to intervene.



Lo and behold, there’s a public hearing scheduled for Red Wing!!  Thanks for small favors…  Mark the hearings on your calendar and show up.  Before hand, do a little reading!


Categories: Citizens

More Denial of Intervention in Xcel Rate Case

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 1:25pm

WOW… can you believe??  It’s not just me, it’s not just denial of Intervention of No CapX 2020.  See 20162-118122-01_Denial2_Overland-NoCapX Intervention.

Intervention as a party in this Rate Case is only open to those who sold out to Xcel Energy and it’s “business plan” agenda of e21.

This is the most recent Order in the Xcel Energy Rate Case:

Order Denying Intervention – SunShare & ILSR

Here are their Intervention Petitions:



To see the full Rate Case docket, go to the PUC’s Search Documents page, and search for Docket 15-826.

And the Order… Dig this, parroting Xcel’s objections:

And this, even worse, as if the interests of the “Clean Energy Organizations” who bought into, stumped for, and sat quietly during the legislative hearings about Xcel Energy‘s e21 Initiative are the same as the interests of SunShare and Institute for Local Self-Reliance – ILSR:

This is SO offensive.  There is no consideration that the perspectives are different, only statements that the issues, the concerns, are the same.

The late, great Myer Shark, rate case Intervenor extraordinaire, would spin in his grave at the limitations of participation in this rate case.

Myer Shark, Lawyer Who Fought Utility, Is Dead at 94 In the Matter of the Complaint by Myer Shark, et al …
Categories: Citizens

Tours of Fort Peck Dam and Garrison Dam!

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 1:10pm

Did you know you can tour dams?!?!  As a kid, we toured Ft. Peck, while visiting Hell Creek campground, the name oh-so-apt.  And Hoover dam, which I remember better, this was SO long ago…  And knowing how I love utility infrastructure, I’m trying to arrange tours.  We shall see!  And SUCCESS!!!!  We get to tour Fort Peck Dam!  Is this cool or what?!?!?

Categories: Citizens

Alan Muller on Red Wing’s garbage ash “mining”

Sat, 04/30/2016 - 11:07pm

Hot off the press:


For more info, go to

Categories: Citizens

U of M Humphrey “report” on CapX 2020

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 11:51am

It’s out, the report from U of M Humphrey School of Public Affairs about CapX 2020, headlining it as a “Model for addressing climate change.

Transmission Planning and CapX 2020: Building Trust to Build Regional Transmission Systems

Oh, please, this is all about coal, and you know it.  This is all about enabling marketing of electricity.  In fact, Xcel’s Tim Carlsbad testified most honestly that CapX 2020 was not for wind!  That’s because electrical energy isn’t ID’d by generation source, as Jimbo Alders also testified, and under FERC, discrimination in generation sources is not allowed, transmission must serve whatever is there.  And the report early on, p. 4, notes:

Both North and South Dakota have strong wind resources and North Dakota also has low-BTU lignite
coal resources that it wants to continue to use. New high-voltage transmission lines are needed to
support the Dakotas’ ability to export electricity to neighboring states.

See also: ICF-Independent Assessment MISO Benefits

Anyway, here it is, and it’s much like Phyllis Reha’s puff piece promoting CapX 2020 years ago while she was on the Public Utilities Commission, that this is the model other states should use:

MN PUC Commissioner Reha’s Feb 15 2006 presentation promoting CapX 2020

So put on your waders and reading glasses and have at it.

Here’s the word on the 2005 Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell – Chapter 97 – Revisor of Statutes that gave Xcel and Co. just what they wanted, transmission as a revenue stream:

And note how opposition is addressed, countered by an organization that received how much to promote transmission.  This is SO condescending:

… and opposition discounted because it’s so technical, what with load flow studies, energy consumption trends, how could we possibly understand?  We couldn’t possibly understand… nevermind that the decreased demand we warned of, and which demonstrated lack of need, was the reality that we were entering in 2008.

And remember Steve Rakow’s chart of demand, entered at the very end of the Certificate of Need hearing when demand was at issue???  In addition to NO identification of axis values, the trend he promoted, and which was adopted by the ALJ and Commission, has NOT happened, and instead Xcel is adjusting to the “new normal” and whining that the grid is only 55% utilized in its e21 and rate case filings.  Here’s Steve Rakow’s chart:

Reality peak demand trajectory was lower than Rakow’s “slow growth” line, in fact, it’s the opposite from 2007 to present.  Suffice it to say:

Categories: Citizens

Yes, it’s true, Prince died

Thu, 04/21/2016 - 2:32pm

Governor Dayton orders I-35W Bridge to remain purple all weekend KMOJ – Listen Up!

Prince was found dead today at Paisley Park.  57 years old.  Not surprised, because I just can’t imagine him being old, and that thought popped into my head when I’d heard about that “medical emergency” last week, how he’d age… maybe it’s just my latest milestone birthday, or that his memoir is due out soon, but the idea of a crochety Prince, an oxymoron.

I didn’t know him, just literally “in passing” in the halls of Central H.S., but friends in music did, and, well, that memoir could be interesting…

STrib: ORAL HISTORY: Prince’s life, as told by people who knew him best

Questlove’s Weeklong Master Class on Prince

Mpls Central?  Yearbook photos — from P. Nelson, 2nd column from left, go down one row and over three, and there’s my little bro!

Prince was talented and musically influential beyond measure.  He put Minneapolis on the map, and how long was it that he was at top of charts elsewhere, yet metro radio wouldn’t give him air time?  Who was it that called Purple Rain the best country western song ever written?

RIP Prince!

And on Barn Bluff, here in Red Wing, before the City “redacted” it:

Categories: Citizens

Criminal Charges Begin re: Flint Water

Wed, 04/20/2016 - 10:12am

Yesterday, Alan and I were in Hastings, and we were talking about the extreme pollution of 3M, and of DuPont in Delaware. In Flint, it appears that it’s being taken seriously, though these first three charged may just be the sacrificial offerings:

In Michigan, the dominos are starting to fall.  Susan Hedman, former head of EPA Region 5, did the right thing, and quickly, but since then?  Well, now the criminal charges have begun:

Flint water crisis: Criminal charges against three state and city workers

From the article:

Glasgow is accused of tampering with evidence when he allegedly changed testing results to show there was less lead in city water than there actually was. He is also charged with willful neglect of office.

Prysby and Busch are charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to tamper with evidence, tampering with evidence, a treatment violation of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act and a monitoring violation of the Safe Drinking Water.

I would hope they’ll go deeper and that more will be charged.

It’s different in Minnesota.  3M knew enough to stop manufacturing PFOA, but it was dumped and made its way into our water, there’s a lawsuit initiated by our Minnesota Attorney General, but no criminal charges:

Study finds link between 3M-made chemical and cancer

Lawsuits Charge that 3M Knew About the Dangers of its Chemicals

A few snippets from the above article:

State Attorney General Lori Swanson first filed the lawsuit against 3M on behalf of the people of Minnesota in 2010, claiming that the company polluted more than 100 square miles of groundwater near its plant in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, as well as four aquifers serving as drinking water for some 125,000 people in the Twin Cities. The suit charges that the company piped PFC-polluted wastewater into a stream that flows into the Mississippi River and disposed of it on land near the river, which allowed it to leach into the river.

… and (the red links are to EPA testing):

After the initial discovery of PFCs in drinking water near the Cottage Grove plant, 3M installed filtration systems on the water supply for the nearby community of Oakdale, provided bottled water for residents with private wells, and remediated three of its former dump sites. However, the most recent water tests, released by the EPA in January, still showed 25 detections of PFCs in wells that provide drinking water to Woodbury, Oakdale, and Hastings — all of which are near 3M headquarters — as well as in the Cottage Grove water utility, which serves more than 33,000 people.

In two wells in Oakdale, PFOS contamination detected by EPA tests released in January exceeded the provisional health levels set by the agency. And several Oakdale wells had PFOA levels higher than those that qualified residents to participate in a class-action suit against DuPont in West Virginia and Ohio.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has a page on this, where dangers are minimized, and where not much has been posted past 2009 (note landowners with wells have to pay over $300 for testing their water!):

The 3M Cottage Grove Facility and Perfluorochemicals

Why has no one been charged at 3M?  Why is this surface and ground water pollution not front and center?

What about the bad water in Pennsylvania from fracking, Dimock, PA comes to mind, and that was public knowledge over 7 years ago:

Gas in wells in Dimock Twp. PA

And remember that National Geographic article with astonishing photos way back in 2007 about the poisoned and dry wells in Wyoming?  That was a decade ago.  What’s been done?

Drilling in the West – in National Geographic this month
Categories: Citizens

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