A spokesman for Alliant Energy says they are following the law and will move forward with their request for a temporary electric rate increase despite a call from the governor to delay the rate increase. Alliant spokesman, Ryan Stensland, says the company sent Governor Chet Culver a letter saying they have some common ground in that both believe it’s important to invest in renewable green energy, and both know making that investment costs money.
He says they also indicated to the governor that they would implement interim rates consistent with Iowa law on March 20th, and they would not seek a delay in the implementation of the rates. Stensland says they also asked the governor to bring the Consumer Advocate and other parties together to expedite the hearing of the full rate case.
Stensland says if the rate case is acted upon quickly, it contains a provision that would use $180-million to help phase-in the rate increase to ease the impact on customers. The governor asked for a hearing on the rates, but Stensland says the Iowa Utilities Board has already set up hearings that will determine if the rate increase is justified. Stensland says it would take two to four months to hold hearings if the company delays the temporary increase, and he says Iowa law allows the temporary rate increase until the final decision is made on rates.
Steansland says under the law if the Iowa Utilities Board then rules a permanent rate increase should be lower than the temporary increase, then the company has to refund money to customers. Stensland says the company has invested nearly one-billion dollars in green energy and environmental controls, and has to show investors it can recover those costs.
Stensland says the market reacts favorably when news is good, and unfavorably when the news is not good, and he says there are financial implications if the company is not able to implement the temporary and then permanent rates. Stensland stops short of saying the request from the governor to halt the temporary rate increase is a political move.
“I realize this is an election season, and you never know exactly what spurs these types of reactions, but at the end of the day we’re focused on providing safe and reliable power for our company, and we’re not interested the politics,” Stensland says.
The temporary rate would be a 10% increase, and the company is asking for a permanent increase of 14%. A spokesman for the Iowa Utilities Board says a majority of utilities have follow the procedure of asking for a temporary rate increase before a ruling is made on their request for a permanent increase since the law was changed. Alliant Energy serves around 480,000 electric customers in Iowa.
The Iowa Utilities Board has set the following public hearings on the rate increase: Peosta Community Center, Wednesday, April 7th @ 1:30;Marion, Wednesday, April 7th @ 6:30; Spirit Lake at the Community Room in the Dickinson Dounty Courthouse, Wednesday, April 14 @1:30;Mason City- NIACC Campus, Muse-Norris Conference Center, Room 180A, Thursday April 15th @ 6:30; Newton High School Auditorium, Tuesday, April 20th @ 6:30; Osceola High School Auditorium, Wednesday, April 21st @ 6:30;St. Mary’s Parish Center Ft. Madison, Tuesday, April 27th @ 1:30; Ottumwa High School Auditorium, Tuesday, April 27th @ 6:30.