Buchanan County and others in Iowa will see rate increases in 2024 and 2025 to help cover the cost of investing in renewable energy (the full email I received from Alliant Energy is included at the end of this article).
In early September, I reported on a proposed electricity rate increase in Wisconsin to help pay for the costs of investing in renewable energy, with the biggest offender being Alliant Energy. It should come as no surprise then, that today, Alliant Energy will submit a proposal to the Iowa Utilities Board for two rate increases in Iowa. The first of these rate increases is scheduled to take effect in October of 2024, and the second in 2025. This comes on top of the rate increase that Alliant hit Iowa customers with back in 2020. That rate increase was 15% for residential customers. The new proposed rate increases for residential customers are 7.7% for 2024, and 5.5% for 2025. All total, this means that by the end of October 2025, Alliant Energy will have hit Iowa’s residential customers with a 28.4% rate increase in just 5 years. The reason? To pay for investments in renewable energy projects. Small businesses will be hit even worse, with a proposed 20% increase over the next two years.
Meanwhile, NextEra has continued to tell us at every single community information meeting that wind power is the cheapest source of energy there is and that wind farms will result in lower electricity rates for customers (with their standard disclaimer that they ultimately don’t control the final rates).
The bottom line is that this is not and never has been true. In fact, I am not aware of a single instance where customer electricity rates have gone down as a result of building wind farms. Back in June, I reported on how wind turbines caused wildly fluctuating prices in Texas with one resident receiving a bill for $16,752 for a single month of electricity, and another resident was billed $9,546 for one month of electricity. Their normal monthly bill? $200. The reason? Wind turbines that weren’t turning.
Alliant Energy claims in their proposed Iowa rate increase that part of the reason for the increase is to “build a more reliable, sustainable and resilient energy future.” But wind turbines are not reliable, sustainable, or resilient. During the 2021 Texas Energy Crisis, wind power operated at just 2% capacity factor. Meanwhile, nuclear power plants continued to operate at 73% capacity factor. Even natural gas, despite frozen natural gas pipelines, stayed at 40% capacity. In June of 2023, Texas once again warned of the possibility of power shortages and blackouts from poor wind conditions. California has also been hit with rolling blackouts from over reliance on wind power.
NextEra continues to insist that small, rural communities need the tax revenue provided by wind farms. But the fact is that none of us will actually see our taxes go down if we allow the Jubilee Wind Project to come into Buchanan County. All we will see is continuing increases in our electricity rates–which by the utility companies own admission is to pay for investments in renewable energy–along with continued loss of soil nutrients and productive topsoil, reduced farmland productivity because of loss of aerial spraying near wind turbines, and drying of soil affecting farmers as far as 19 miles away from wind turbines.
Notice of proposed electric rate increase
Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility, Interstate Power and Light Company, is submitting a proposal to the Iowa Utilities Board on October 12, 2023 to adjust customers’ electric rates in late 2024.
The drivers of our proposed electric rate increase include our investments to build a more reliable, sustainable and resilient energy future to benefit our customers and the communities we serve in Iowa. We are investing to diversify our generation resources, expand economic opportunities, replace and upgrade aging infrastructure and create a healthier environment that benefits all Iowans. By building cost-effective projects and modernizing the energy grid, we’ll be improving security, reliability and resilience. At the same time, we are continuing to meet all customers’ energy needs in light of rising costs that have impacted all industries.
The overall impact on customer bills will vary, depending on actual energy used and final rates approved by the Iowa Utilities Board. The Iowa Utilities Board will review our request within 10 months and establish final rates, which may be different than the rates we’re proposing. We’re requesting the rates become effective in October 2024. However, the Iowa Utilities Board will determine if and when any changes in final rates become effective.
The rates under review by the Iowa Utilities Board are called base rates and only account for a portion of your bill. Base rates include capital costs, operation and maintenance costs, a return on investment and taxes. The estimated average monthly bill shown in the chart on the next page includes all costs included for a typical customer’s bill, including estimated rate case expense. The estimated average monthly bill is based on projections and may be impacted by other factors, such as fuel costs and weather. The new rates are proposed to be phased in over approximately two years with increases in October 2024 and October 2025. If the Iowa Utilities Board decides that the proposed rates will be implemented in a different time period, the increase may vary from what is shown in the chart.
Did you know?
Your bill consists of two primary elements–the cost of energy and the amount of energy you use. To learn about ways you can reduce the amount of energy you use and save on your bill, visit alliantenergy.com/waystosave. You can also learn about resources available to help manage your bill by visiting alliantenergy.com/energyassistance.
Customers have the right to file written comments and objections with the Iowa Utilities Board that include any facts that would assist the Board in reviewing the proposed rate adjustment. Customers also have the right to request a public hearing regarding the proposed new rates. Comments, objections, or hearing requests can be submitted to the Iowa Utilities Board online at efs.iowa.gov, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at Iowa Utilities Board, 1375 E. Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319-0069. All comments are a matter of public record and available to the Office of Consumer Advocate, who represents the public interest in rate cases before the Iowa Utilities Board.
As part of this request, the Iowa Utilities Board will host a series of customer comment meetings. The customer comment meetings are open to the public and are scheduled for the dates below. Details about participating or accessing information presented at the customer comment meetings will be available on the Iowa Utilities Board website, iub.iowa.gov.
Cedar Rapids: Monday, November 6 (6:30 p.m.) at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, Main Ballroom, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.
Clear Lake: Tuesday, November 7 (6 p.m.) at The Surf Ballroom, 460 North Shore Dr., Clear Lake, IA 50428.
Creston: Wednesday, November 8 (6 p.m.) at Southwestern Community College, Performing Arts Center, 1501 W Townline St., Creston, IA 50801.
Virtual: Thursday, November 9 (6 p.m.) at iub.iowa.gov.
To learn more about Alliant Energy’s rates, visit alliantenergy.com/iowarates. A free, written explanation of current and proposed rates can be provided upon request. If you have any questions, you may call Alliant Energy at 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4268).
The proposal reflects our ongoing commitment to continue to deliver safe and reliable energy to our customers.