Alliant Energy ordered to make refunds in electric rate increase case

Alliant Energy is activating its AC cycling program to reduce costs, effective Thursday, due to the heat. (MGN)

DES MOINES, Iowa (KWQC) Alliant Energy customers could be in store for refunds after a decision on a rate increase.

The Iowa Utilities Board issued its final decision Thursday on a request from Alliant Energy/Interstate Power and Light Company to increase Iowa customer electric rates.

Back in March, Alliant filed an application seeking an increase and requesting a permanent annual revenue increase of approximately $203.6 million. In October, the amount was reduced to an annual revenue increase of $127 million and a return on equity to 9.5 percent.

The board approved a refund of $7.5 million to customers who paid an interim rate increase. It also allows for a customer charge to go up from $11.50 to $13 for residential customers and from $19 to $20 for general service customers.

The board also approved a settlement agreement that resolves other contested issues with the utility company. It sets a monthly fee of $4.06 for customers who opt out of having an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) meter but does not allow Alliant to charge a fee to customers who choose a reduced-pulse meter;

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

As part of the proceedings in the electric rate case, the board says it received more than 5,600 written public comments, Many customer comments revealed concerns with Alliant’s management practices, including a plan to introduce and implement AMI meter technology.