The state’s consumer advocate says Iowans are much better off than Californians when it comes to energy costs. Consumer Advocate Gary Stewart suspects there’s something weird about West Coast natural gas prices that’s not totally dictated by market conditions. He says California prices are five times what they are in other states.But Stewart says Iowa prices are probably in line with what’s happening in the industry.Last week, Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal said the consumer advocate needs more power to investigate utilities because Gronstal believes utilities are making excess profits. Stewart says he’s got plenty of authority now, as they can institute an investigation or ask the utilities to change their prices if need be.Two groups of legislators have been meeting the past few days to come up with detailed proposals that might provide some relief to Iowans who’re paying incredibly high heating bills. One idea from the G-O-P would erase the sales tax on utility bills for a couple of months — a savings of about seven-dollars a month for the average Iowa household. The man who heads the state program that provides checks to low income Iowans to help cover their heating bills says the program’s 20-million dollars short.
You are here: / / State Consumer Advocate says he has enough power