Alliant customers continue to ask Iowa Utilities Board to deny price hike

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Alliant Energy customers are once again trying to get the Iowa Utilities Board to stop a rate hike.

Alliant Energy is the parent company of two public utility companies--Interstate Power and Light Company (IPL) and Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WPL)--and of Alliant Energy Resources, Inc. (AER), the parent company of Alliant Energy's non-regulated operations. (PRNewsFoto/ALLIANT ENERGY CORPORATION)

Alliant wants to raise its rates for electricity by nearly 25 percent over the next two years. It's supposed to help the company pay for different investment projects like wind energy.

Alliant Energy said, while people may be unhappy now, over time it will help lower customer bills because fuel costs will continue to go down with more wind energy in service.

Customers on fixed incomes still aren't having it, though.

Imara Powers is one of more than a dozen customers who came up at the Kirkwood College auditorium to say the same thing to the Iowa Utilities Board: they need to reject the energy company's price increase.

"We understand that's a concern for our customers, we basically tell them if they have any concerns about our bill to give us a call at 1-800 Alliant to go over their bill with them," said Alliant Energy Spokesperson Mike Wagner.

The rate increase is something that Wagner said a lot of people are misunderstanding -- and that it won't actually impact customers as much as they think

There was a mailing that went out for a 25 percent increase and a lot of our customers thought that that meant their bill would multiply by 25 percent and that would be the increase but we've been explaining it's only an increase on part of their bill," said Wagner. "Other parts of their bill are going to go down."

The money will also go toward investments in Alliant's smart meters so people can monitor their energy use in real-time. Some, like Powers, said while Alliant may think their ideas are great, customers wish they had more of a choice.

"This is not the way a company should be operating in a so-called free country," said Powers.