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Letter to the Editor: A municipal electric utility is in Decorah's best interests

Posted: Tue, Mar 6, 2018 2:01 PM

(The following Letter to the Editor has been submitted by Emily Neal of Decorah):

"49 million Americans, 136 communities in Iowa and the entire state of Nebraska get their power from certified experts in the energy field through public power.  Alliant Energy is working hard to convince our community that they are the only company capable of taking care of our distribution system.  They are manipulating us with push polls and astronomical cost estimates that are just not realistic when you look across America at the success of public power and the incredible assets that municipal electric utilities bring to the communities they serve.

The sole purpose of the Alliant study was to dissuade Decorah from pursuing municipalization, because Alliant knows we have a really good chance to own our system and keep profits within our community. The study they conducted is filled with contradictory information and unrealistic rate changes. Within the study they have their own rate only going up 9 percent in 10 years, which, as any Decorah customer knows, is about as unrealistic as it gets since our rates go up on average 2 percent to 5 percent  each year. This year alone our rates went up a whooping 7.8 percent (Alliant tried to raise them 11 percent, thank goodness the Iowa Utilities Board stepped in and stopped them!).

On page 5 of Alliant's study, they have noted, "this is a preliminary estimate that can only be refined after a complete system inventory is conducted." They didn't even use their own inventory to do their own study! Why? Because they wanted the numbers to be as big as possible.

Now, I know many of you out there are asking --why change the status quo? Because the status quo isn't what is best for our community. As we look to our neighbors Waverly, Spring Grove, and New Hampton, who are all served by public power, we can see that public utilities work with and for the communities they serve. Alliant, a for-profit regulated monopoly, has enjoyed generous profits from our community with no competition for the last 100 years, but right now, we have a rare opportunity to keep those profits here within our control, to be better, to do better for our community.

A vote YES! on May 1st moves us ahead to a new energy future. By making our own decisions and building an energy grid for the next 100 years, we can ensure greater reliability, stewardship and fiscal responsibility!"