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Alliant Energy wants 13 percent rate hike in Iowa  

Credit:  AP - news.yahoo.com ~~

DES MOINES, Iowa – Alliant Energy officials have testified at a four-day regulatory hearing this week as the Iowa Utilities Board delves into the utility’s request for a 13 percent electric rate hike worth nearly $150 million.

Alliant’s Interstate Power and Light subsidiary says it needs the increase mainly to cover rising transmission costs, new investments in wind energy and environmental controls at its Lansing power plant. The hearing started Monday and is expected to last through Thursday.

Interstate Power and Light president Tom Aller appeared before the board Monday, taking questions from representatives for the board and for the Iowa Office of Consumer Advocate.

Aller was asked why the utility allowed a wind turbine project to go over cost estimates.

“I felt we could justify spending the additional funds to complete the project, which meant a $100 million direct benefit for our customers,” Aller said.

Alliant’s latest rate increase request comes after Iowa state regulators finalized a 7 percent rate increase in January.

The utility has presented its own plan that it says will minimize the increase’s effect over the first few years. Alliant wants permission to use money from regulatory reserve accounts.

But Alliant faces opposition. The consumer advocate office has asked the utilities board to deny the increase and instead order Alliant to reduce electric rates by $1.8 million.

The board isn’t expected to rule on the rate increase request until January.

Source:  AP - news.yahoo.com

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