from Radio Iowa – By Dar Danielson
Alliant Energy has finalized a plan to freeze its base electric rates through 2016. Alliant spokesman, Justin Foss, says the plan includes holding the rate and also an offset on electric bills. “In addition to the freeze, we’re also proposing a 70-million dollar credit this year to help customers out, to pretty much keep bills flat or just a little bit lower than what they were last year — for the rate wise,” Foss says.
The company will continue the credit program, giving customers 25 million in credits in 2015 and 10 million in 2016. Foss says the credits are a result of the new contract the company made to buy electric power from the Duane Arnold nuclear power plant in Palo. “The lower cost from that contract is allowing us to give back these credits here,” Foss says.
Foss says the rate freeze only impacts the base rate customers pay for electricity. If a hot summer or cold winter requires furnaces and air conditioners to run more, overall electric bills could still be higher. “What we’re trying to do is to let customers know that we are doing everything we can here to help keep their rates stable and predictable for them,” according to Foss.
He says the agreement now has to be approved by state regulators, after the company got input from three groups, including the Consumer Advocate’s office.
“All four of us are unanimous in on this agreement and believe it is the best thing for customers and for our company,” Foss says. “Now we present it to the Iowa Utilties Board and we wait to hear from them.” Foss says if approved, the agreement would extend the rate freeze that’s been in place since 2011.