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Energy & Environment

PSC: New CO2 regulations could mean regulation of RECs, municipals

Members of the North Dakota Public Service Commission say one of the potential effects of the Obama Administration’s proposed carbon emission rule is that the rural electric cooperatives would come under the PSC’s jurisdiction.

The rules are meant to cut CO2 emissions 30 percent by the year 2030.

"One of the four building blocks in the EPA's proposal had to do with energy efficiency," said Commissioner Randy Christmann. "That's to me where the municipal systems and the cooperative electric systems are going to have to fall under somebody's jurisdiction. How can you build a system to reduce CO2, counting on certain efficiency requirements being met, if no one has the authority to do something about it?"

"If these rules on CO2 go through, somebody's got to certify the companies are doing what they're supposed to do," said Commission chairman Brian Kalk. "Who would certify that, other than the state commissions?"

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak says the PSC already has rate-making authority over the investor-owned utilities, and the new EPA rules may put the Commission in charge of rates for REC and municipal customers as well.

The PSC has asked the cooperatives to share with the Commission their formal responses to the EPA concerning the proposed carbon rule.

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