Here's what the Iowa Utilities Board had to say about Alliant Energy's actions in Decorah's referendum on whether to explore having a municipal electric utility
Posted: Thu, Jan 9, 2020 3:41 PM
Of particular interest to Decorah residents will be the IUB's comments about Alliant Energy's actions during the lead-up to the May 1st, 2018 vote on whether the City of Decorah should explore creating a municipal electric utility. The utility hired a consultant--Concentric Energy Advisors--to do cost projections for a city-run utility. Alliant then repeated Concentric's conclusion that, "a city-owned utility will lead to a 30% rate increase, less reliable service from an out-of-town crew, and fewer renewable energy options."
Alliant Energy later walked back those comments and said it had commissioned a review of the Concentric report, but never released that review to the public.
IUB members in their rate increase ruling Wednesday night took special note of the Decorah referendum, writing, "The actions taken by (Alliant Energy) in opposition to the Decorah municipalization effort demonstrate a lack of management efficiency by withholding from and not providing to the citizens of Decorah accurate information about anticipated rate increases."
The Iowa Utilities Board concluded that Alliant Energy's behavior during the Decorah municipalization campaign, "shows that (Alliant) did not fulfill this responsibility and failed to meet the expected standard of conduct for a regulated monopoly."
Board members criticized Alliant for withholding information from the public in Decorah with regard to timing of rate cases and expected rate increases that was known prior to the municipalization vote.
Wrote the Iowa Utilities Board, "The lack of transparency and misrepresentation in the Decorah municipalization vote is of significant concern to the (IUB). It is not definitively known whether the information withheld would have changed the results of the vote. It also is not within the authority of the Board to require or allow for a new municipalization vote. The (Iowa Utilities) Board, however, does have the authority to ensure that (Alliant) provides accurate information to Iowans regarding the service supplied by their regulated utilities. Accurate information is particularly important for communities considering municiplization. The Board will require IPL to submit a plan to ensure that information presented to communities considering any anticipated rate changes is accurate and current."