Back Print

City council members are critical of Alliant Energy

Posted: Tue, Jun 4, 2019 9:42 AM

Decorah City Council members say their negotiations with Alliant Energy for a new franchise agreement "have stalled out a little bit."

Council members were critical Monday night of the efforts made by Alliant to answer questions raised by the city council.  While Alliant Energy officials are pushing for a 25-year franchise agreement with a 5-year opt out, Utility Committee Chair Andy Carlson said council members prefer a 15-year agreement with a 6- or 12-month opt out.  "We don't see it as beneficial to have a long-term agreement," Carlson told Alliant representatives.

There have been a few changes in the Alliant personnel who have been holding talks with the City of Decorah, which led Carlson to say, "I feel like we're starting over."  City council member Ross Hadley shared Carlson's frustration, saying at one point, "We've asked this over and over and over...we've made no progress."

Decorah City Administrator Chad Bird said he'd prefer that the city council reach an agreement before the city starts large projects like the Locust Road reconstruction.

Alliant Energy representatives said the utility would be willing to work with the City of Decorah on a large battery installation in Decorah and on a solar panel distributive generation project.  But that led city council member Johanna Bergan to comment the projects Alliant is proposing benefit the utility, not the city, adding, "the give and take isn't even."

City council members say they'd like to have Alliant propose shared projects which benefit both the city and the utility.  They say it's especially important that the city be able to participate in projects which will enable it to meet its sustainability goals.