The Iowa Utilities Board took up a proposed rate increase by Alliant energy at its meeting this week. One who came to object was Bob Bowers, president of the Wellman Dynamics Corporation in Creston, who said it’s hard to take a big increase that comes all at once. He says two or three percent a year is easier to take than a big jump. Wellman supplies parts to the military, for Black Hawk helicopters and Tomahawk missiles. Bowers says the increase can’t be passed on, so the company has to absorb it somewhere. He says the place they can cut fixed costs is payroll, so he thinks local businesses will have to cut workers. Bowers says it’ll drive businesses away if fast-rising utility costs force him to raise the cost of his products. Bowers says in the case of a military supplier, that could mean the government will buy its parts from another supplier with lower fixed costs, or from producers overseas. The next hearing on the rate increase will be in Des Moines, on October 22nd.
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