Members of the Iowa Utilities Board and Interstate Power and Light Company, which is owned by Alliant Energy, held a public hearing in Mason City last night to discuss a proposed 16-point-three-percent rate increase for electricity. The new Emory Generating Station near Mason City is one reason they are seeking the rate hike. Steve Throssel, of Eldora, spoke out against the proposal, saying it will hurt small towns.Throssel says people who live and contribute to the local economies of small towns may lose their jobs if this rate increase hurts businesses like it could, and that in turn would have a major impact on small towns. Kurt Sprau works for Curries & Graham Manufacturing, a door maker and one of Mason City’s largest employers. Sprau says some businesses, like his employer, can’t pass along costs like this to the customer.The proposed rate increase would cost the average residential customer an average of 13-dollars more per month on their electric bills. Brad Peterson is a meter reader for Alliant Energy in Mason City and says the rate increase is needed to make sure the company can continue to provide the level of service people have come to expect.The Iowa Utilities Board has held meetings all over the state to get public input. The board will hear from the company and from the Iowa Consumer Advocate at an evidentiary hearing on October 4th. The board must decide whether to grant Interstate Power and Light’s (Alliant’s) request before January 14th, 2005.
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