Iowa Telecom customers will have several chances in the next three weeks to vent about a proposed rate increase, as the Iowa Utilities Board will host public hearings in six Iowa cities. Utilities Board spokesman Rob Hillesland says Iowa Telecom wants a permanent rate increase for basic telephone service. Some of the cities they serve are: Newton, Nevada, Desoto, Washington, Mt. Pleasant, Mt. Ayr, Manchester, Greenfield, Creston, Alden, Lime Springs, Fayette. After three years, the rate increase would generate over 18-million dollars of new revenue for the Newton-based phone company. Hillesland says it’s hard to say what kind of rate hike individual consumers will see on their bills.Hillesland says the public hearings give folks a chance to air their opinions. Hillesland says the Board has ’til November 20th to make a decision on the rate increase. Temporary rate increases went into effect June 25th.The first hearing will be held this Thursday, July 25th, in Mount Pleasant at the Old Threshers Theater Museum. The next will be held Thursday, August 1st in Newton at DMACC’s Conference Center Auditorium. The hearing in Emmetsburg is set for Tuesday, August 5th in the Iowa Lakes Community College Auditorium. The next will be in the Logan Community Center on Thursday, August 8th. On Monday, August 12, a hearing will be held at the Delaware County Fairgrounds Community Center in Manchester. And the final hearing’s scheduled Wednesday, August 14th in Madrid’s Community Room. All the hearings start at five p.m. Except for the one in Emmetsburg, which starts at noon.
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