Business

Alliant Energy interim rate increase challenged

State board to discuss on Monday

The Alliant Energy tower in downtown Cedar Rapids. (Gazette file photo)
The Alliant Energy tower in downtown Cedar Rapids. (Gazette file photo)

The Iowa Utilities Board next week will take arguments on Alliant Energy’s proposed interim rate increase to determine if it’s reasonable.

The board this week scheduled a Monday meeting in Des Moines at 1 p.m. Oral arguments will follow the discussion of Alliant’s proposed rate increase.

Alliant officials last month announced plans for electric and gas rate increases — starting with an interim increase April 1. The interim increase is projected to raise a typical residential customer’s monthly electric bill of $116 by about $8 per month.

A second increase to electric and gas rates of roughly an additional $12 per month would start on Jan. 1, per Alliant’s proposal.

Combined, the proposed rate increases would represent a 17.24 percent increase for a typical customer.

Following Alliant’s request, the Office of Consumer Advocate, a division of the Iowa Department of Justice, filed a motion to reduce the interim rate increase, saying the increase was too high.

Mark Schuling, Iowa’s Consumer Advocate, said his office argues the board should look now at the interim rate increase.

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Meanwhile, Alliant officials argue the interim rate increase should be addressed later in the proceeding as a part of the larger rate increase case.

The interim rate increase represents an annual revenue increase of nearly $90 million, according to Iowa Utilities Board documents.

If the interim rate is found unreasonable, the rate increase would be subject to refunds.

The proposed rate increases would apply to a customer’s base rate and represent company investments in renewable energy and a resilient grid.

Alliant officials have said those investments will bring down customer costs in the long run — in other portions of their bill such as energy efficiencies and fuel and transmission costs.

In addition to Alliant’s rate increase, the Iowa Utilities Board this week approved the utility’s energy efficiency plan, which utility officials say will result in savings for customers.

Alliant officials say the plan will save customers up to $180 million over the next five years on their energy bills.

In Iowa, Alliant Energy provides electric services to 490,000 customers and natural gas to another 225,000 customers.

The Iowa Utilities Board will host 10 public comment meetings across the state regarding Alliant’s rate increase requests. Customers with comments are encouraged to attend.

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Representatives with Alliant, the Iowa Utilities Board and the Office of Consumer Advocate will be present at the meetings and answer questions.

• April 11 at 5:30 p.m. at Southwest Community College Performing Art Center, 1501 W. Townline St., Creston

• April 23 at 5:30 p.m. at Iowa Valley Education Center, 3702 S. Center St., Marshalltown

• May 1 at 5:30 p.m. at Buena Vista University Science Center, 610 W. Fourth St., Storm Lake

• May 2 at 11:30 a.m. at the Historic Park Inn, 7 W. State St., Mason City

• May 2 at 6 p.m. at the Hotel Winneshiek, 104 E. Water St., Decorah

• May 8 at 6 p.m. at the Bridge View Center, 102 Church St., Ottumwa

• May 22 at 11:30 a.m. at Southeastern Community College Building 300, 1500 W. Agency Road, West Burlington

• May 22 at 5:30 p.m. at Clinton Community College Tech Center, 1951 Manufacturing Drive, Clinton

• May 23 at 11:30 a.m. at Hotel Julien, 200 Main St., Dubuque

• May 23 at 5:30 p.m. at Kirkwood Community College Main Campus, Iowa Hall, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids

Customers also can provide comments online at the Iowa Utilities Board website at iub.iowa.gov/online-services/open-docket-comment-form.

• Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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