Alliant rate case is next week

Published 9:24 am Monday, June 6, 2011

Albert Lea city leaders are encouraging residents affected by a proposed Alliant Energy rate increase to again make their voices heard in the coming week.

According to a news release sent out by city officials Friday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is slated to hear the rate case on June 14 and 16.

The commission will take testimony on June 14 and then make its decision on June 16 — ultimately deciding whether to make a permanent 22 percent increase in electricity bills.

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Alliant Energy filed a request to change the rates with the Public Utilities Commission in May of 2010, and a collection of interim rates began in July and August of 2010.

The interim rate increases were about a 20.1 percent increase, though the impact of the proposed change will vary depending on customer class.

The request would increase the company’s annual revenues by 22 percent, or $15 million.

Alliant spokesmen have previously stated that most of the expenses included in the rate case recover the investments the company has made in its Minnesota system in the last five years, including infrastructure-type investments, such as emission control power plants required by the federal government and wind farms to meet state renewable energy mandates. It also includes the cost of service, including lines, poles and substations that get power to customers.

Many residents, business owners and city officials have come out in opposition to the proposal, along with the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Division of Energy Resources, which recommended the proposed rate increase be cut in half.

Administrative Law Judge Bruce Johnson with the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings also issued a report in April suggesting modifications and reductions to the rate hike.

If the commission decides at the hearing that the increase is too high, residents could receive a refund from Alliant Energy for the amount of money overcollected since the temporary increase went into effect in July 2010.

“Your presence at this hearing will let the MPUC know you care deeply about this rate increase and will ensure that the commission keeps any necessary permanent increase to a minimum,” according to the release.

The meeting will be in the Large Hearing Room, Suite 350, 121 Seventh Place East, St. Paul, MN 55101-2147.

For more information, contact City Hall at 377-4330.