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Little support at Mpls. hearing for forming municipal utility

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A majority of those in the crowd at a Thursday public hearing on whether Minneapolis should form its own utility seemed to oppose the idea, MPR reported.

More than 50 members of the public, business leaders and activists spoke – mostly against the idea – at the hearing that went more than three hours, the Pioneer Press reported.

Attendees had pointed questions about whether the city could afford such a venture, and whether the city had the expertise to pull off such a complex enterprise, the Star Tribune reported.

"Who are we going to call? Who's going to come help us?" one resident wondered, KARE 11 reported.

City council members are mulling whether Minneapolis should itself pursue the distribution of electricity and gas. Council members are considering putting a question on the November ballot asking voters if they want to authorize creation of a city-operated utility.

Advocates of the concept say the city might be able to distribute energy more cheaply than for-profit companies. Supporters suggest that a city-operated utility could more aggressively pursue renewable energy.

But the idea is not getting a lot of high-profile support. The Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce and mayoral candidates are among those who are not in favor of it.

Minneapolis’ long-term agreements with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy are up for renewal next year.

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