Solar Fees And Iowa Utility Board Rate Hike Hearing

kirsten running-marquardt

From Representative Kirsten Running-Marquardt:

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We have finally made it through winter and as of March 20th, it’s officially Spring! Cold weather, however, can rear its ugly head at any time, sort of like the steady stream of bills proposed by legislators in the House and Senate. We recently went through a second funnel week, which means that most policy bills (does not include appropriations or tax bills) have had to pass through at least chamber in order to be considered. The Legislature’s focus will now be slowly narrowed to finalizing this year’s budget. While this means there is limited time for the some to continue to push bad bills through, many bad ideas could return through amendments, shipped over from the Senate or appear in large all-encompassing bills at the end. I will continue to work in a bi-partisan way for all Iowans.  

I am concerned about HSB 185, which would impose fees of up to $300 a year on solar customers to “supposedly” cover the cost of accessing the electrical grid. Despite the misleading TV advertising funded by dark money groups, this bill is a blatant attempt to force solar panel owners to pay unnecessary fees and tries to blame solar panel owners for increased utility bills.  If passed, it would likely extend the amount of time it takes owners of solar panels to pay off their investment from less than ten years to more than 20 years and reduce accessibility for average Iowans who want to generate their own power through solar energy.  After going through an extreme winter throughout our state, we should not be punishing Iowans who are doing what they can to combat climate change by using renewable energy.  {italics and bolding mine – ed.}

On the topic of utilities, Alliant Energy recently filed applications with the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) requesting a 24.45% retail rate increase for residential electric customers and 25% rate increase for residential gas customers beginning 2020. Alliant has also requested for an interim electric rate increase of $89.9 million among all classes, beginning April 1, 2019. Complete information on the rate increases is available on the IUB’s online filing system under RPU-2019-0001 (electric) and RPU-2019-0002 (gas). To file a comment on these proposed increases go here: https://iub.iowa.gov/online-services/open-docket-comment-form and use the above the RPU number to indicate if you are commenting on the proposed increases for RPU-2019-0001 (electric) and RPU-2019-0002 (gas). The Iowa Utilities Board will review your comments before their ruling. Iowans cannot afford these types of increases.  Please, consider contacting the IUB, file your concerns on the proposed rate increases and or attend a local meeting on the proposed increases.  The IUB will hold ten public comment meetings in April and May to provide Alliant customers an opportunity to express their views about Alliant’s proposed rate increases and the utility’s overall quality of service. IUB is working to arrange for remote participation via online webinar at the venues as well. The following public comment meetings are scheduled:  {bolding mine – ed.}

•    Creston: 5:30 pm, Thur., April 11, SWCC, Performing Art Center, 1501 W. Townline St.

•    Marshalltown: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, at Iowa Valley Education Center, 3702 S. Center St.

•    Storm Lake: 5:30 p.m. Wed., May 1, at Buena Vista University, Science Center, 610 W. Fourth St.

•    Mason City: 11:30 a.m. Thursday May 2, at the Historic Park Inn, 7 W. State St.

•    Decorah: 6 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at the Hotel Winneshiek, 104 E. Water St.

•    Ottumwa: 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, at the Bridge View Center, 102 Church St.

•    West Burlington: 11:30 a.m. Wed., May 22, at SECC, Building 300, 1500 W. Agency Road.

•    Clinton: 5:30 p.m. Wed., May 22, Clinton Comm College, Tech Center, 1951 Manufacturing Dr.

•    Dubuque: 11:30 a.m. Thursday, May 23, at the Hotel Julien, 200 Main St.

•    Cedar Rapids: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at Kirkwood Community College, Iowa Hall, 6301 Kirkwood Boulevard S.W.

As always, it is an honor to work for you and my gratitude for your support continues.  If you have any comments or suggestions on issues, or need assistance with state government, please contact me by email Kirsten.Running-Marquardt@legis.iowa.gov or by phone at 319.330.9899. I look forward to hearing from you.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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