Government

Move to stop Alliant Energy's interim rate increase denied by state board

Hearings on overall rate increases planned for fall

An analog electric meter. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
An analog electric meter. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Discussions on possibly reducing Alliant Energy’s interim rate increase, which went into effect earlier this month, will have to wait until this fall.

The Iowa Utilities Board on Thursday scheduled October and November public meetings for Alliant’s application for electric and natural gas service base rate increases, according to a news release.

The board also denied a motion by the Office of Consumer Advocate, a division of the Iowa Department of Justice, that sought to reduce Alliant’s interim rate increase, which took effect April 1.

Alliant officials said the interim increase is projected to raise a typical residential customer’s monthly electric bill of $116 by about $8 per month.

While the Office of Consumer Advocate argued the interim rate should be lowered now, the Iowa Utilities Board ruled that state law doesn’t allow the board to review or approve interim rates until the overall rate proceeding concludes, according to a Thursday news release.

A public hearing on Alliant’s electric rate increase will take place on Oct. 7-9 and a hearing on the utility’s natural gas rate increase is scheduled for Nov. 4-5.

Hearings are to be held at the Des Moines Iowa Utilities Board Building at 1375 E. Court Ave.

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

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

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A second increase to electric and gas rates — representing an additional $12 per month — is scheduled to take place on Jan. 1, per Alliant’s proposal.

Combined, the proposed rate increases would represent about $20 per month, or a 17.24 percent increase for a typical customer, according to Alliant.

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.

Alliant Energy’s Iowa footprint covers 490,000 electric customers and another 225,000 natural gas customers.

Community meetings

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

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

• 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 Estelle Siebens 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

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• 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, , Ballantyne Auditorium in Iowa Hall, 6965 Tower Road 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.

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

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