Iowa Utilities Board will hear arguments over Alliant rate increase

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa Utilities Board announced a hearing for oral arguments in early April regarding Alliant Energy's proposed interim rate increase, regulators announced Tuesday.

The board, after filings regarding the proposal from multiple parties, scheduled the hearing for April 1, 2019. At issue is whether the interim rate increase proposed by Alliant is reasonable.

A motion filed by the Office of Consumer Advocate, a division of the Iowa Department of Justice, in early March claimed that Alliant's calculations for the increase were too high and should be reduced. They said that Alliant used a return on equity rate from a 2010 decision, which they argue is out-of-date based on declines in those returns over recent years. The OCA instead proposed using a return rate based on a 2017 decision involving the Iowa-American Water Company. They also argue that the Iowa Utilities Board can intervene if it finds rates to be unreasonable under Iowa law.

Alliant filed a response stating that if the rate is found to be unreasonable at the end of the full proceedings, which are scheduled to last well into late 2019, then refunds can be issued by the company. They argued that recent legislation eliminated the option for the Board to choose what the interim rate should be. They also asserted that using the established 2010 ruling better applies to their case, rather than an unrelated water utility decision by the Board.

The Iowa Utilities Board ruled to schedule oral arguments over the legal and factual issues in this dispute over the interim rates. The OCA and Alliant will present their case on whether the Board can reduce the interim rate under Iowa law, and how to proceed if it can.

The hearing will be held at the IUB/OCA Building at 1375 East Court Avenue in Des Moines. It will follow a scheduling conference between the parties involved that will begin at 1 p.m.