Regulators approve lower Alliant electric rate increase, require review of customer relations

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Iowa Utilities Board has given final approval to an agreement with Alliant Energy electric rate increase.

Alliant had requested an increase of $204 million in revenue from residential customers. The amount was reduced to $127 million to give the company a 9.5% return. The agreement also includes a refund of $7.5 million for customers who paid interim rates.

The monthly customer charge will increase form $11.50 to $13 for residential customers and from $19 to $20 for the general service customers. Customers who don’t want an automated meter will have to pay a monthly fee of $4.06.

The IUB says the evidence in the rate case demonstrates that Alliant has not efficiently managed its relationships with its customers. Alliant is required to file a comprehensive improvement plan within 90 days and review its own internal processes, and identify opportunities for improvement, and correct deficiencies as they become apparent.

According to information from the IUB,  they received more than 5,600 written public comments and in the spring of 2019 held 10 public customer comment meetings throughout Alliant’s Iowa service territory. The IUB stated that many customer comments revealed concerns with Alliant’s management practices.

Those comments, the IUB’s disapproval of Alliant’s process to introduce and implement AMI meter technology, and a “lack of transparency and misrepresentation” during a 2018 municipalization vote in the city of Decorah led the IUB to find Alliant “did not meet the expected standard of conduct for a regulated monopoly.”

The IUB told Alliant in the order it will continue to monitor and review the company’s management efficiency practices and may take necessary action as allowed by Iowa Code.