Alliant Energy filed a request with the Iowa Utilities Board Wednesday asking for an electric rate increase that would generate $163-million annually for the company. Spokesman Ryan Stensland says the request would put temporary increase into effect later this month for the company’s approximately 480,000 customers in Iowa.

He says the interim increase would be around 10 to 12% beginning on March 20th and that rate would stay in place until the utilities board acts on their overall rate request sometime early next year. Stensland says if the full rate request is approved, then electric rates would increase another two to eight percent.

Stensland says the increase is need to pay for new environmentally friendly practices. “The rate request covers nearly a billion dollars in costs that we have incurred or expect to incur yet this year to expand renewable energy in our energy portfolio, to reduce emissions and make Iowa’s air cleaner and to…enhance the safety and reliability of our distribution system,” according to Stensland.

The costs include money spent on the Whispering Willow wind farm and environmental controls at its Lansing plant. Stensland says the increase will have benefits for Alliant customers. Stensland says the immediate benefits are reducing the dependence on fossil fuel, and hopefully reducing the cost of the fuel. He says it will also provide cleaner air for all Iowans and enhance the reliability of the power.

Stensland says the company is asking for permission to use a “customer cost management program” for the rate increase. Stensland says they recognize there is going to be an impact on customers and the plan would phase in the increase over a three-year period so customers aren’t hit with the whole rate increase at once.

If the Iowa Utilities Board approves the whole increase, it would cost customers 14% more for electricity. The board could reject the requested increase, and if it allows an increase lower then the interim increase, then Alliant would have to issue a refund to customers.

The Iowa Utilities Board has set the following public hearings on the rate increase:

Peosta Community Center, Wednesday, April 7th @ 1:30; Marion, Wednesday, April 7th @ 6:30; Spirit Lake at the Community Room in the Dickinson Dounty Courthouse, Wednesday, April 14 @1:30; Mason City- NIACC Campus, Muse-Norris Conference Center, Room 180A, Thursday April 15th @ 6:30; Newton High School Auditorium, Tuesday, April 20th @ 6:30; Osceola High School Auditorium, Wednesday, April 21st @ 6:30;St. Mary’s Parish Center Ft. Madison, Tuesday, April 27th @ 1:30; Ottumwa High School Auditorium, Tuesday, April 27th @ 6:30.