Energy Utility Franchise Agreements

Riverfront at Night

The City of Minneapolis has utility franchise agreements with Xcel Energy for electricity and CenterPoint Energy for natural gas. These agreements were signed in the early 1990s, and both expire at the end of 2014. The City is currently in negotiations with these companies on new franchise agreements. The City is using the negotiations to explore options to achieve its goals for sustainable energy, improved air quality, equity and green jobs.

What are franchise agreements?

The right of way along city streets and alleys is public property. To connect homes and properties to gas, electric, telephone and other services, companies must run distribution lines on the public right of way. Communities negotiate franchise agreements with utility companies to identify the conditions under which those companies are allowed to use public property to provide service to local residents and businesses. Utility companies pay a fee to the cities — negotiated through a franchise agreement — in exchange for use of the public right of way.

Energy Pathways Study

The Energy Pathways Study received by the City Council HECE Committee on Feb. 28, 2014 explores the various paths the City could take to achieve its goals for an affordable, clean, reliable and local energy system. The study includes an examination of multiple pathways to this future, including potential city-utility partnerships, changes to state law or rules, changes to how the City uses energy utility franchise fees, and the potential for municipalization of one or both energy utilities.

Additional resources and information

Photo: Maury Landsman.

Published Aug 16, 2013