The Iowa Utilities Board reached a final decision on a request from Alliant Energy/Interstate Power and Light company to increase electric rates for Iowa retail customers.
Alliant submitted an application March 1, 2019, for an electric rate increase, requesting a permanent annual revenue increase of approximately $203.6 million.
On Oct. 3, 2019, a partial settlement was filed, reducing the annual revenue increase to $127 million, with a return on equity to 9.5 percent.
The IUB's final decision order approves the non-unanimous partial settlement agreement and resolves other contested issues in the case.
- increases the monthly customer charge from $11.50 to $13 for residential customers and from $19 to $20 for general service customers
- establishes a monthly fee of $4.06for customers who opt out of having an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) meter, but doesn't allow Alliant to charge a fee to customers who choose a reduced-pulse meter
- approves a renewable energy rider (RER) as a line item on customers' bills to compensate for the costs of wind projects New Wind I and II, which go into service in 2020; Alliant indicated that the RER will delay the need to file a rate increase request in 2021.
- establishes a regulatory principle that the return on the equity on interim rates can't be higher than the return on equity for proposed final rates
- approves a refund of $7.5 million for customers who paid interim rates.
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During the proceedings, the Iowa Utilities Board received over 5,600 written public comments and held 10 public comment meetings throughout Alliant's service area in spring of 2019.
Many customer comments raised concerns with Alliant's management practices, according to the IUB. Those comments, in combination with IUB's disapproval of how Alliant's process to implement AMI meter technology.
In its press release the IUB says those comments, in combination with "the IUB's disapproval of Alliant's process to introduce and implement AMI meter technology, and a 'lack of transparency and misrepresentation' during a 2018 municipalization vote in the city of Decorah led it to find Alliant 'did not meet the expected standard of conduct for a regulated monopoly.'"
The IUB informed Alliant in the order it will continue to monitor and review the company's management efficiency practices and may take necessary action as allowed by Iowa Code chapter 476.
"The IUB ordered Alliant to file compliance tariffs within 20 days, based on the decision and documents showing the approved revenue increase, by customer class, as a percentage of total revenues and base rate revenues," the release said.
Rate changes will take effect when the IUB reviews and approves the compliance tariffs.
The full press release on the final decision order can be read on the Iowa Utilities Board's website.