The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) begins the first of four public comment meetings Tuesday on the proposed Alliant Energy natural gas rate increase. IUB spokesman, Rob Hillesland, says the company filed the request for the rate increase on May 25th.

“This increase is for the costs for the utility providing customer services — billing, metering and basically delivering gas to customers — it’s not for the cost of the commodity itself which is passed through dollar for dollar by the utility to the customers,” Hillesland explains.

The proposed rate increase would allow Alliant to take in $14.8-million in additional revenue. “That’s a 5.6% revenue increase that they’re seeking,” Hillesland says, “and under Iowa law a temporary increase of eight-point-six million dollars annually, or 3.3%, has already gone into effect.”

Hillesland says if the utilities board turns down the increase, or approves an increase lower than the temporary rate, customers will get a refund with interest. Alliant has some 223,000 natural gas customers in the state.

Hillesland says this is the first part of a 10 month process where the board hears comments from customers about how the increase would impact them or how they feel about the service of the company. Hillesland says any comments will be considered before the board makes a final ruling on the rate increase.

“There’s a court reporter that is present for all the comment meetings, so all the comments are taken down and transcribed word-for-word and they become part of the permanent file in this rate case that is available for all the board members to review in making their decision,” Hillesland says.

There are other ways to make your views know if you can’t make one of the meetings. You can send written comments via e-mail to: [email protected].

Or you can mail comments to:
Iowa Utilities Board, Executive Secretary, docket number RPU-2012-0002, 1375
East Court Avenue, Room 69
Des Moines, Iowa 50319.

The first meeting is Tuesday at North Iowa Community College, Muse-Norris Conference Center, 500 College Drive, Mason City. All the meetings begin at 5:30. The other meetings are July 12 at the Mount Pleasant Civic Center, July 17 at the Clinton Community College Auditorium, July 19 at the Fisher Community Center in Marshalltown.