State regulators say a temporary electric rate hike for some 500,000 Alliant Energy customers can stay in place, but they turned down a request to increase the rates by another 9%. Customers began paying the 7% increase began in March while the Iowa Utilities Board considered the request for the larger increase.
Utilities Board spokesman, Chuck Seel, says the three-member board didn’t agree with the arguments Alliant made for the increase. “The board in its deliberations basically found there was insufficient evidence to support some of the contentions that were brought forward in the case and felt like there was sufficient evidence to support what they approved,” Seel says.
Board members say the decision is a balance between allowing Alliant to raise more money and protecting consumers during the bad economy. While the electric bills won’t increase, they won’t go any lower either. Seel says, “Customers won’t see a change in their bill from what it’s been for the last nine months. It’s about a seven percent increase over where they were prior to that and that’s a little less than half of what the company had asked for from a petition to the board filed last March.”
A spokesman for Alliant says the rate increase is needed to help pay for rising costs associated with operating an electric utility as well as recovery from ice storms and floods over the past few years. Alliant could request another rate hike in the coming months.