Alliant Energy Customers and Rising Electric Rates - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Alliant Energy Customers and Rising Electric Rates

STEWARTVILLE, Minn. (KTTC) -- More Alliant Energy customers are jumping on the bandwagon to protest a monthly increase of $16 on their electricity bill.

Public hearings are being held for people to voice their concerns about the steep rate hike.The meetings are being documented in their entirety and the findings will be considered at the Public Utilities Commission hearing in February.

"I thought I actually heard it wrong, 22-percent, cause that was rate shock to me," said Stewartville City Councilor, Roger Hanson.

This is the first time in five years Alliant Energy, better known as Interstate Power and Lights, has increased their rates. Now questions are stirring. Roger Hanson said it will add an extra $18,000 dollars to Stewartville's yearly utility bill.

"We've already set out budgets and we've already tried to compensate for decreased LGA coming into our city. This is an extra burden on the city and the tax payers," explained Hanson.

On a larger scale, Minnesota's Attorney General has even opposed the increase, calling it a "rate shock".

"It is the attorney general's opinion that the commission should object the rate increase on the basis that it is too extreme and under the legal principal that it would constitute rate shock," said Deputy Attorney General, Karen Olson.

A financial analyst, with the Office of Energy Security, told the NewsCenter they're investigating the electric company's request for a rate increase. "Our investigation to date has concluded that $6.8 million per year, or nearly half of Interstate Power and Light's $15.1 million request, should be rejected," stated analyst Mark Johnson.

However, the president of Interstate Power and Lights said the increased costs are justifiable.

 "We have to spend all the money and then when that line, substation or wind farm is in service and all of our customers can use that improvement, then and only then,  can we commission in a rate case and ask that rates be adjusted to raise additional revenue," said President Tom Aller.

The final rate increase will be decided this summer and implemented in the fall. If the Public Utilities Commission decides that the increase should be less than the interim rate of 21% customers will be refunded their money.

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