Tap into the collective power of influential business and NGO pioneers to create new strategies and

 tactics to build a more socially and environmentally conscious state.

The U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce is excited to bring you this series of sustainability leaders who are making a positive impact in Minnesota. Meet the people who are working to improve the environment in Minnesota and around the world. Click here to view all of our Minnesota Leaders.


Ben Bratrud


Program Coordinator

Company or NGO Name:

Citizens Utility Board of Minnesota

Region or City:


1. What is the mission of your company/NGO? 
The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) advocates for affordable and reliable utility service and clean energy for residential and small business consumers across Minnesota. This is done through policy work at the legislature, Public Utilities Commission, and stakeholder groups. We also provide customer education services and consultations focused on energy efficiency in the home.


2. What is the most innovative or environmentally/socially impactful project/practice your company/NGO has implemented?
Last year, a utility brought a bill in front of the legislature that would have harmed ratepayers by allowing the utility to make a significant power plant investment without proper regulatory oversight. CUB worked with customers, legislators, and with the utility to reach a compromise that preserved important consumer protections on an amended bill.


3. How have those projects positively impacted the local community or state?
CUB’s work at the Minnesota State Legislature and Public Utilities Commission helps to ensure that Minnesota utilities are not making big, long-term investments in power plants that could not only prevent us from reaching our greenhouse gas reduction goals but could also prove to be much more expensive than cleaner energy options that we have available.


4. Please share any new projects you will be implementing in the near future.
We currently offer what are known as utility bill consultations free to all residents in Minnesota. In a bill consultation, we ask questions to get a sense of energy behaviors in the home and provide customized tips and resources to help reduce energy use and discuss energy efficiency investments. We are working to expand these outreach services to small businesses.


5. What are the biggest challenges you have faced when pursuing or trying to promote sustainable practices/projects?
The biggest challenge we face as a resource for people to learn how to become more energy efficient is we cannot ensure people take our advice. We can only point people in the right direction, it is then up to them to implement the recommendations we give them to save money and energy.


6. What are your top 3 career accomplishments?
Working with individuals through a variety of outreach events has been a very rewarding opportunity. In this realm we are in direct contact with people and can make a real impact to help people save money and energy which for some can really make a difference.


7. What inspired you to choose your career path?
The energy sector is an area where there are a lot of exciting things happening. Particularly in electricity, I expect a lot of changes to happen with the shift towards carbon free generation. This shift requires a massive change in how we consume energy. I am excited to be a part of the team that works on these issues.


8. Personally—Why do you care about sustainability? What is your story?
First and foremost, energy that is not used is the cheapest and cleanest form of energy available. Helping people become more sustainable and energy efficient provides multiple benefits in other aspects of their lives as well as for the communities we live in.


9. What do you think are your biggest strengths as a leader in Sustainability?
Excitement and energy. There are a lot of big changes on the horizon. I enjoy looking at the bigger picture and seeing how all these new policies will impact the people of Minnesota.


10. What is/are the biggest incentive(s) for businesses in your area to adopt sustainable practices?
Competitiveness. Particularly small businesses where every dollar matters. It’s the same mantra we push to residential customers; the cheapest and cleanest energy available is energy that is not used in the first place. Businesses that want to thrive in the 21st century need to utilize energy efficient and sustainable practices.


11. What is/are the biggest environmental or social challenge(s) facing Minnesota today?
Minnesota is a state with a lot of participation in the environmental and sustainability space. All this work has led to many innovative ideas being put forth. Care must be taken to push these innovative ideas forward in a responsible manner. Reshaping the energy systems we have had in place for the past 50 plus years is a difficult task.


12. What is the most positive action Minnesota has taken to positively impact its environment or social wellbeing?
The energy laws passed in Minnesota in 2007 have really set the direction for Minnesota’s clean energy and energy efficiency advances of the past decade. The Renewable Energy Standard set renewable standards for utilities in the state and the Next Generation Energy Act includes Minnesota’s greenhouse gas reduction and energy savings goals.



To learn more about Ben and the Citizens Utility Board of Minnesota, visit:

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/benjaminbratrud

CUB website

CUB twitter

CUB Facebook