ST. PAUL (WJON News) - A Minnesota advocacy group is sounding the alarm about recent investments into natural gas.

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The Citizens Utility Board released the results of a study Thursday morning that finds spending by the state’s three largest gas utilities, CenterPoint Energy, Xcel Energy, and Minnesota Energy Resources, has more than tripled since 2013, and is on track to top $1 billion per year by 2030.

The group claims the cost of investment, plus the return on equity, will have to be paid by ratepayers, leading to much higher bills in the near future.

Annie Levenson-Falk is CUB’s executive director.

In any scenario, customer bills will increase rapidly, driven by utility companies’ earnings promises to their shareholders. If gas use declines, which is very likely, bills could skyrocket – particularly for renters and low-income households, who are least able to afford it. This report should raise questions for Minnesotans, utility regulators, and the utility companies themselves. We must think carefully about these investments to ensure that we are not saddling future generations with billions of dollars of debt.

 

The complete report from the Citizens Utility Board is available by clicking here.

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