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The Iowa Utilities Board gave a qualified 'yes” to Alliant Energy's request for a rate increase for customers of its retail natural gas.
The decision came after Alliant and other parties, including the Iowa Attorney General's Office of Consumer Advocate and consumer groups, filed a settlement with the board.
Alliant's Interstate Power & Light in March had applied for an annual overall rise of some $21 million, or 9 percent of the company's total revenue, the board noted in a news release. But on Wednesday the board announced it had approved an increase of $9.2 million less than that - to $11.8 million.
'This is good news for our customers, this is good for everybody,” Alliant spokesman Justin Foss said.
The utility had asked for an approximate $8-per-month rate increase for residential customers, for example, Foss said, but agreed to a $4-per-month boost.
Foss pointed out a monthly bill consists of three charges:
' The base rate, which is the part Alliant had asked to increase
' The cost of the gas, which is a pass-through and on which Alliant doesn't see a profit
' The state-mandated energy-efficiency charge.
That third item, he said, shrank starting in 2018. So a typical monthly residential bill, averaged over a year, likely will be lower in 2020, depending on fuel-cost fluctuations.
With the natural-gas increase, Alliant will continue to make infrastructure improvements to its delivery system, replacing 1950s-era pipelines, putting in new safety values and other actions, Foss said.
The rate change will go into effect sometime in the first quarter, Foss said.
The board also stipulated a monthly charge of $2.80 for customers who decline having an advanced metering infrastructure, or AMI, meter - often referred to as 'smart meters.”
The board held 10 public customer-comment meetings in April and May and received written public comments, it said in its release.
The board has yet to issue its decision on Alliant's rate increase request for electricity.