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CenterPoint proposes to spread cost of natural gas spike over two years

Plus: Judge in Chauvin case plans to question jurors about Floyd family settlement with Minneapolis; Minnesota Senate Republicans offer up some numbers; AG announces agreement to help students defrauded by Minnesota School of Business and Globe University; and more.

The headquarters of natural gas and power utility CenterPoint Energy in Houston, Texas.
The headquarters of natural gas and power utility CenterPoint Energy in Houston, Texas.
REUTERS/Gary McWilliams

Says the Star Tribune’s Mike Hughlett, “CenterPoint Energy is proposing to spread the cost of a colossal natural gas price spike — $354 per household on average — over two years to help cushion the blow to Minnesota consumers and the company itself. The deep freeze that paralyzed Texas last month ignited U.S. wholesale gas prices, leaving Minnesota’s gas utilities with huge bills that they will pass down to ratepayers. … CenterPoint had a $500 million commodity gas tab in Minnesota over a 10-day period in February, 56% more than it spent during the entire year ending June 30 … .”

A team of reporters from MPR write: “The $27 million wrongful death settlement between Minneapolis and the George Floyd family continues to hang over jury selection in Derek Chauvin’s criminal trial.… The court heard from seven prospective jurors Tuesday without seating any of them. Defense lawyers and prosecutors spent much of the day pressing would-be jurors about whether the massive settlement would influence their decision-making. … [Judge Peter] Cahill plans to interview seven of the nine jurors selected so far via video conference on Wednesday to question them briefly on the matter. He is expected to rule this week on defense motions seeking to move or delay the trial, and he says he’ll rule Thursday on a defense motion to include evidence from a 2019 Floyd arrest.”

The Star Tribune’s Jessie Van Berkel reports, “Leaders of the GOP-controlled Senate debuted their initial topline numbers for the next two-year state budget, offering a counterpoint to Democratic Gov. Tim Walz’s plan. However, the totals could change, since they don’t account for the latest federal relief package that includes an estimated $2.6 billion in one-time money for state government.”

In the Pioneer Press, Josh Verges writes: “The St. Paul school board on Tuesday picked the husband of a district teacher to fill a short-term board vacancy created by Steve Marchese’s resignation. Yusef Carrillo will serve April 15 through the end of the year, unless a large number of registered voters contest his appointment. Carrillo, 40, said he’s also ‘seriously contemplating’ running in November, when voters will decide not only who serves the final two years of Marchese’s term but also which three candidates will serve full four-year terms.”

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For KSTP-TV, Josh Skluzacek says, “A tentative agreement could provide financial relief for hundreds of former Minnesota School of Business (MSB) and Globe University students. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office said Tuesday that the agreement with the schools, their owners and the U.S. Department of Education would provide close to 100% financial relief for 920 former students defrauded by the for-profit schools from 2009 through 2015.”

For KAAL-TV Samantha Boring says, “This time last year, driver’s licenses that would have expired were given an extension due to COVID-19, but that extension is ending March 31. There are around 300,000 Minnesota licenses that expired between March 13, 2020, and February 28, 2021, during that extension period.  The Driver and Vehicle Services Department is asking you to renew now and do not wait till the last minute.”

For The Verge Sean O’Kane reports, “The chairman of Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn says the electronics giant is considering making electric vehicles at its mostly empty worksite in Wisconsin, where the company originally planned to make LCD panels. Either that, or Foxconn may make EVs in Mexico. The decision will be made by July 1st, chairman Young Liu said at a press conference Tuesday.”