December 19, 2014

Regulators approve $135.5 million rate hike for MidAmerican

The Iowa Utilities Board has approved a $135.5 million rate increase for MidAmerican Energy customers. Rob Hillesland, a spokesman for the board, says regulators agreed to the increase due to a “wide range of factors,” including increased operating costs.

“There were environmental costs and transmission costs included in that which the board also decided upon going through its list of issues in its decision meeting,” Hillesland says.

The increase is to be phased-in over three years, however last August the board gave MidAmerican the go-ahead to temporarily start boosting utility bills, by an average of $2.73 a month. Increases in years two and three will be in the same range.

“The second and third phases won’t go into effect on January 1st of 2015 and January 1st of 2016 and it’s done in thirds and so that gives a little bit of leeway and a little bit of help to customers,” Hillesland says.

The deal is not yet final. MidAmerican needs to review and approve a few  changes the Utilities Board made this morning, but the utility is unlikely to reject this rate hike decision. MidAmerican, as part of the proposed settlement, will be promising not to raise rates again until 2018.

“Which is also good for customers, so they won’t be coming in with multiple rate cases in a short period of time,” Hillesland says.

The board’s proposed settlement asks MidAmerican to ensure no residential customer sees an increase of more than $200 a year on their utility bill. The cap for individual business customers would be $1500 annually.