Minnesota Energy Resources is proposing to upgrade the natural gas infrastructure in the Rochester area. The upgrade is in response to anticipated future business growth in the Rochester area. The project goal is to make sure Rochester has a safe and reliable supply of natural gas now and in the future.

The company needs to add about 13 miles of new natural gas distribution pipeline around the south and west sides of Rochester that will connect two of our existing pipelines.

The project will allow us to serve customers from multiple pipelines and allow for anticipated growth in the Rochester area.

Regulatory Process

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) is the state agency that determines the need and necessity for utility projects, including final route selection.

In the fall of 2015, we filed two applications with the MPUC:

  • Docket No. G011/M-15-895 — Rate filing
    This application requests a determination that our proposed Rochester project investments are prudent, reasonable and necessary to provide natural gas service in and around Rochester, and that the costs of those investments should be recovered from all of Minnesota Energy Resources' customers.
  • Docket No. G011/GP-15-858 — Route permit filing
    This application requests a route permit for the construction of the proposed
    13.1-mile high-pressure distribution pipeline to tie together the northern and southern portions of our existing distribution system in Rochester to ensure adequate and reliable natural gas service in and around the Rochester area.

The review of the two regulatory applications before the MPUC is anticipated to take approximately one year. Decisions are anticipated in late 2016 or early 2017. Interested stakeholders will have the opportunity to participate in the MPUC's review of the route permit filing and the rate filing by attending public hearings and submitting written comments.

Combined Rochester Project Regulatory Schedule

MERC Rochester Rate Rider Filing
MPUC Docket No. G-011/M-15-895
OAH Docket No. 68-2500-33191
MERC Rochester Route Permit Application
MPUC Docket # G-011/GP-15-858
OAH Docket # 8-2500-33180
Action Date Action Date
Petition Submitted 10/26/15 Application Submitted 11/03/15
MPUC Order for Hearing 02/08/16 MPUC Notice of Hearing 02/03/16
MERC Direct Testimony 04/15/16 First Prehearing Order 02/17/16
Deadline for Intervention 05/16/16 Public Route Alternatives Proposal Deadline 04/13/16
Intervenor Direct Testimony 07/01/16 Routes Accepted for Hearing (target date) Late May 2016
Public Hearings 07/11-15/16 Comparative Environmental Analysis Comment Period (target dates) 08/01–08/20/16
Rebuttal Testimony 07/28/16
Surrebuttal Testimony 08/25/16 Testimony of All Parties 09/06/16
Prehearing Conference 09/01/16 Second Public Informational Meeting 09/20/16
Evidentiary Hearing 09/06-09/16/16 Evidentiary and Public Hearings 09/20-09/22/16
Initial Briefs 10/11/16 Public Comment Period Closes 09/27/16
    Proposed Findings of Fact 09/27/16
Reply Briefs and Proposed Findings 10/25/16 Replies to Proposed Findings 10/14/16
ALJ Report 11/30/16 ALJ Report 11/17/16

Direct Testimony and Exhibits

Information and Participation

To submit comments on either the route permit proceeding or the project approval proceeding:

  • Email: publiccomments.puc@state.mn.us
  • Send written correspondence with the relevant docket number to:
    Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
    121 7th Place East, Suite 350
    St. Paul, MN 55101
  • Reference the relevant docket number in all communications:
  • For the route permit proceeding, reference: Docket No. 15-858
  • For the reasonableness and cost recovery proceeding, reference: Docket No. 15-895

If you have questions about the project, please contact Amber Lee, Manager of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, at 651-322-8965 or ASLee@minnesotaenergyresources.com.

WEC Energy Group