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Opponents line up to block Alliant proposed transmission system sale

A major component of Alliant Energy’s New Energy for a New Generation plan first announced in January has attracted a long list of critics.

By last week’s deadline to petition against Alliant Energy’s proposal to sell all of its Interstate Power & Light Company electric transmission assets to Michigan-based ITC Midwest LLC, 23 businesses, organizations or associations had filed an intervention with the Iowa Utilities Board.

Alliant leaders said the sale is hoped to help defray the $1 billion cost of the proposed power plant in Marshalltown, another component to the plan alongside new wind farms in the state.

Among the objections to selling the transmission system for $750 million to an independent electric transmission company are that it may expose customers to rate increases, impact interconnections with other utilities, impact access to new connections, impact development of the renewable energy industry and impact regulatory protection for Iowa customers.

Intervenors whose petitions have been granted by the IUB include the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, Midwest Municipal Transmission Group, Missouri River Energy Services, Wisconsin Public Power, Central Iowa Power Cooperative, Corn Belt Power Cooperative, MidAmerican Energy, Community Coalition for Rate Fairness, Large Energy Group, Resale Power Group of Iowa, Ag Processing and Iowa Consumers Coalition.

In addition, the following have filed petitions to intervene but are still awaiting the IUB’s permission to be included: American Transmission Company, Sierra Club, Dairyland Power Cooperative and the collaboration of public interest organizations Clean Wisconsin, Community Energy Solutions, Environment Iowa, Iowa Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa Farmers Union and Iowa Renewable Energy Association.

“The transmission grid is a vital resource for our clean energy future. We must act prudently when considering selling off an Iowa resource to an out-of-state company. We need more details about what this means for ratepayers and those growing Iowa’s renewable energy economy,” said Attorney Carrie La Seur of Plains Justice in Mount Vernon, representing the eight public interest organizations. “We want Iowa’s transmission grid to be managed to ensure the best possible access for renewable energy resources that create thousands of new jobs, for the economic and environmental benefit of all Iowans.”

Testimony from IUB-approved intervenors is due Thursday, with replies due July 6. A hearing on the proposed transaction will start Aug. 1 in Des Moines and a decision is due by Sept. 27.

By Ryan Brinks


5 June 2007