6.7 Percent Temporary Electric Rate Hike Approved for MidAmerican

By Dave DeWitte, Reporter

(PUBLISHED: This is part of the power plant at the MidAmerican Energy Coralville generating station in Coralville.) This is part of the power plant at the Mid-American Energy Coralville generating station on March 23, 2001, in Coralville.

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By Kara Kelly

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A MidAmerican Energy rate settlement calling for a 6.7 percent overall temporary increase has been approved by state regulators.

The average residential electric customer has been paying about $2.33 more in monthly rates since March under an interim rate increase allowed by Iowa law. The rate settlement will boost average residential rates another $1.30 in 2013, bringing the total increase to $3.63.

The Iowa Utilities Board approved the increases in the form of two automatic adjustment clauses this week, enacting a settlement reached between MidAmerican, Iowa's Office of Consumer Advocate and a group of industrial customers in July.

Higher rates were warranted to cover increased environmental costs, increased costs of coal to fuel MidAmerican power plants, and increased coal transportation costs, the board said in a statement.

In acting on the settlement, the board said the increase would be less than MidAmerican would have received in a traditional rate case.

One of the adjustment clauses will be for 2012, and the other will be for 2013, MidAmerican spokesman Tim Grabinski said. The adjustments will expire after 2013, unlike a typical rate case in which the increase is ongoing.

MidAmerican was pleased with the board decision, Grabinski said.

The case was also different from usual in that it was settled outside a adversarial rate proceeding before the board.

Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, is Iowa's largest utility. It provides electric service to the Iowa City-Coralville area in the Corridor.

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