In 2020, SECC will be recognizing a member each month, providing an organizational profile and highlighting the member's accomplishments and output in the smart energy space.
The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) of Minnesota is a nonprofit advocate for Minnesota’s residential and small business utility consumers. They advocate for affordable and reliable utility service and clean energy for Minnesota residents and small businesses.
CUB is committed to reducing the costs and environmental impacts of energy for the people of Minnesota by improving public policy, educating consumers about energy options and offering personalized guidance on how to lower electricity and natural gas bills. Using their extensive knowledge of Minnesota regulations and laws, they are dedicated to protecting consumers, supporting the stewardship of their natural resources and advancing an equitable energy future.
CUB represents consumers’ interests before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the state legislature. CUB advocates for small consumers at the legislature, supporting a fair allocation of costs among residential, commercial and industrial customers, and updates to the state’s energy conservation and clean energy laws. It frequently intervenes at the PUC in utility rate cases, integrated resource plans (IRPs) and grid modernization dockets. CUB is behind a new PUC effort to adopt Open Data Access Standards to enable privacy-protected customer energy use data to be used for research and program development to reduce energy waste, save consumers money and cut emissions.
In 2019, CUB helped more than 2,200 consumers cut their energy bills, reduce their carbon emissions and understand the latest in energy policy and trends at more than 100 locations around Minnesota. They are active in their communities by providing educational presentations on an array of energy topics and offering energy bill consultations to Minnesota residential or small business utility customers. Participants in energy bill consultations learn how to better understand their energy bill, find easy ways to save energy and learn about local programs that help them save energy and money while increasing home comfort. All of CUB’s services are free and available to anyone in Minnesota.
Helping people better understand their energy choices is a major part of CUB’s work. In addition to CUB’s regular outreach activity, they participate in other innovative projects, one of which is the Peer Learning Energy Efficiency Cohort. Along with over 10 different organizations and community groups, the focus of the program is to increase the capacity of organizations that represent and work with black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC); low-income households; and renters in the Twin Cities. The program seeks to increase awareness of existing programs that increase energy efficiency and improve program options that can serve these communities.
Part of CUB’s mission is to address issues of energy injustice through their outreach and policy work. The COVID-19 crisis has put a spotlight on the inequities that already existed in the energy system based on income, geography, and race and ethnicity. CUB staff and board members recognize these disparities and are focusing on efforts and resources that welcome more community participation in the energy decisions made in Minnesota.