Ask The Answer Person: Your Alliant Energy rate hike questions
Posted: Sun, May 5, 2019 8:15 AM
(When the Iowa Utility Board visited Decorah on Thursday to hear public comments about Alliant Energy's proposed rate increases, it passed out two flyers answering some of the FAQs about the proposal. We're posting the IUB's answers to some of the more frequently heard questions):
"Why is the amount Alliant Energy is requesting for a rate increase based on proposed costs and not actual expenses?"
The Iowa Legislature, during its 2018 session, passed legislation allowing utilities to base rate increase requests on a future year, rather than "historical costs," which had been the previous standard. Alliant Energy's rate increase request is based on the company's projected expenses for 2020.
"Why does Alliant Energy get an automatic interim rate hike?"
Rules previously passed by the Iowa Legislature say, "a public utility may choose to place in effect temporary rates, charges, schedules or regulations without Iowa Utilities Board review." However, if the Iowa Utilities Board approves a final rate which is lower than the temporary 5.5 percent rate increase Alliant put into effect as of April 1st, Alliant will have to refund the difference once the permanent rates go into effect.
"Didn't the Iowa Utilities Board deny Alliant's previous request for a $15 monthly fee for customers who don't agree to the installation of the so-called "smart meters" for residential electric and natural gas service? So why does the latest rate hike proposal include a request for that fee?"
The IUB dismissed the previous request on a technical issue--that the previous proceeding was not the correct proceeding for which to seek a monthly fee from customers who opt out of the smart meter system. At that time, it said Alliant could raise the issue again at a future rate case.