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Ask The Answer Person: What percentage rate hikes did Alliant Energy predict would happen if Decorah created a municipal electric utility?"

Posted: Wed, Mar 6, 2019 5:45 PM

(Several readers have asked how Alliant Energy's request for a 24.45 percent increase in residential electrical rates in Iowa compares to what the utility said last year at this time during the election campaign about studying a potential municipal electric utility in Decorah):

The answer Person says: "If you'll remember, the campaign leading up to a vote on whether Decorah should study creating a municipal electric utility featured dueling feasibility studies--one commissioned for Decorah Power and one commissioned for Alliant Energy. 

As we reported last March (, "Alliant Energy posted a statement on its Decorah Facebook page which said in part, "Electric customers in Decorah could face rates approximately 30 percent higher than Alliant Energy charges if the city moved to a municipal utility rather than staying with Alliant Energy, says Ann Bulkley, a certified utility appraiser with Concentric Energy Advisors."

Alliant adjusted that figure somewhat for a Febuary Decorah City Council presentation, but the next month sent out a mailer to Decorah residents which again stated, "A study by Concentric Energy Advisors…suggests a Decorah municipal electric utility would need 30 percent higher rates just to pay its bills." 

When questioned Alliant about the figure, it then sent a statement which read, "If the city of Decorah shifts to a municipal utility, residents and businesses in the community will face tens of millions of dollars in added costs, double digit rate increases (our emphasis), and fewer renewable energy resources."