CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) — Many Eastern Iowans could soon see high electric bills, as Alliant Energy has asked the Iowa Utilities Board for a base rate increase that’ll effect all of it’s customers, including residential rates up to almost 25%.
However, the company said that increase won’t cause a dramatic increase on customer bills.
As Alliant’s wind turbines go up, so will your electric bill but not as much as you might think after receiving a flyer alert in the mail said Alliant’s Senior Vice President of Operations, Terry Kouba, “We’re trying to get the word out that what you saw in that notice, was just the base rate percent rate increase. Once we fold in all of the savings to manage costs, it’ll actually be lower than that.”
In its proposal, the base rate will go up for all customers but Kouba said services like energy efficiency and regional transmission service fees will go down. Meaning customer bills won’t actually increase by that 25%.
“It’ll be lower than that. In the coming weeks we’ll be out there talking to them (customers) telling them in more detail,” said Kouba.
However, many customers are concerned. One customer, Timothy Godsil took to Facebook urging others to tell the utility board to vote no on the proposal. “It’s not only going to go up for you or I, but it’s also going up for municipal lighting so that might have to come as higher taxes or the budget getting slashed. It’s going to go up for factory workers and other heavy users of power, so that could lead to production increases,” said Godsil.
However, Kouba said in the long run customers will feel the benefits as the five wind farms begin generating renewable energy, “It’s not like coal or gas, where we’re paying money for that fuel, its free. So what we’re seeing right now for forecasting in 2019, is that our fuel costs will be approximately $23 million less, because of wind energy and we’ll flow that savings right to customers.” He added that the savings in clean energy will offset the base rate increase over time.
The rate proposal increase also includes new or modified services charges. Those include a $15 monthly charge for customers who choose a non-standard metering alternative.
The Iowa Utility Board has 10 months to consider the rate hike proposal. In the meantime, Alliant will issue a temporary base rate increase around 5%. However, according to the rate proposal flyer the interim rates are subject to refund depending on the Utility Board’s decision.
Customers do have the right to file a written objection with the Iowa Utilities Board and request a public hearing. Those can be submitted on their website, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to 1375 E. Court Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa, 50319.
Customers have also planned a demonstration against the increase, scheduled for Saturday in downtown Cedar Rapids. Details about that can be found on Facebook.
Click here, for more information about the proposal or how it might affect your bill.