MidAmerican Energy Co. is asking the Iowa Utilities Board for an increase in its base electric utility rates and charges to go into effect in August.

The proposed rate increase affects only the electricity portion of a customer’s bill, and has no effect on the natural gas portion, MidAmerican representative Tina Potthoff said Friday.

While the rate increase is only for Iowa residential and commercial customers, the company is evaluating a rate increase for Illinois customers, she said.

“We want to make it clear that our announcement on our wind energy expansion is not related to this rate increase,” she added, referring to a $1.9 billion project announced Wednesday. “We’re utilizing federal production tax credits for that project.”

The request for a base rate increase comes on the heels of last year’s energy adjustment clause rate increase that the Iowa Utilities Board approved based on MidAmerican’s higher transportation, coal fuel and environmental costs.

“The adjustment clause increase is for a specific reason, such as to pay for the higher fuel costs we incurred when prices went up, and for environmental costs,” Potthoff said.

She added that this is the first base rate increase MidAmerican has requested since 1995. If approved, it will be phased in over three years beginning with an interim rate increase the company is requesting to take effect Aug. 15.

“The base rate increase is to cover expenses across the company, and includes the price of materials for keeping the system up and distributing power,” she said.

The rate increase could mean an annual revenue increase of $45.2 million for the remainder of 2013 and through 2014, $45.2 million in 2015, and $45.2 million in 2016.

The company has been working on the rate increase proposal, “so it is not new,” Potthoff said. “We’re already been working with our industrial and large business customers on this.”

Potthoff said that while the wind energy project is not a part of the rate increase proposal, “the wind expansion could turn this around in the future, and benefit customers by causing these average monthly increase figures to drop after the project is built.”

The wind energy project should be completed by year end 2015, she added.

Potthoff said that while other utility companies across the nation are asking regulators for double-digit increases within a year’s timeframe, MidAmerican is proposing that its base rate increase be phased in over three years and include monthly adjustments for fuel and transmission costs, as well as an adjustment to equalize rates across three geographic zones in its service territory.

Under the rate equalization proposal, rates will be adjusted annually for 10 years in equal increments. Depending on a customer’s zone, the result of rate equalization could increase or decrease rates.

The reason for the plan is that in 1995, MidAmerican Energy was formed through a merger of utility companies, resulting in three different zones for Iowa customers and three separate sets of electric rates. Potthoff said the company has taken steps to reduce the differences between some of the rates in each zone, and that this plan would help.

She added that the equalization proposal will not increase revenue for MidAmerican Energy.

 

(8) comments

IowaEMT
IowaEMT

Oh man, 2 back to the future references, I bet you're really clever. I never check back in things I comment on, let alone almost a week later, 1000 apologies. Ate you trying to compare an ambulance to a mid American truck? We leave them running in the winter because we have to be able to warm a patient if necessary. I'm referring to the past couple of weeks when I've seen their trucks idling for 30 minutes during 70 degree weather. How'd about this, you leave the healthcare to me and I'll let you have the "witty" comebacks.

tuffyo891

I am dissappointed to see I never got a respose from my buddy IowaEMT, must have bought his Marty McFly Nike's off of ebay and went back to the future....The saga continues.

Family man

If you read it closely you would have seen that they said this is the only request for a BASE rate increase since 1995. They have increased what you pay in other ways. Are you utility bills the same as they were 17 years ago? I bet not.
Corporate greed at its finest. They are even a protected monopoly.

tuffyo891

IowaEMT...if that’s what you are, is an EMT, don't you guys idle your ambulances for extended periods of time. With or without patients?? As far as idling trucks and air conditioning, I think you have been watching too much undercover boss on TV. Time to pick up the brochure we all received and educate yourself. There has been no rate change since 1995.....YES 1995. Have you heard of the word INFLATION. The price of everything has gone up over the last 15+ years, has it not?? If you want to live back in 1995 and pay 1995 prices, I suggest you hop into your Delorean and speed it up to 88 mph and we'll see ya later...................

Klaatu
Klaatu

Unrelated to the wind energy project? Bull. All the money goes into the same corporate account, doesn't it? So there is NOTHING that is unrelated, and wind is expensive, very expensive. Remember Obama promising that "utility bills would necessarily skyrocket"? This is part of that scheme. MidAmerican is guaranteed a profit on everything they do, no matter how expensive or foolish.

JS824

Don't worry they promise as soon as they build their wind turbines our costs will all magically go down. Ha. I won't hold my breath on that one.

IowaEMT
IowaEMT

Here's an idea: when your workers go on break, how's about they turn their trucks off. I've seen their trucks running outside of a McDonald's for well over 30 minutes. God forbid they get into a truck that isn't pre air conditioned. When they start saving on gas and STILL need more money, then I'm Ok with it.

longjohn412

I have a question for Mid=American and the IDIOT Politicians supporting them

Why should I have to foot the bill for a study to build another nuke plant most don't want, we don't really need and that will NOT bring even a milliwatt of power to my home and city?

In other words Nuclear is so cost INEFFECTIVE that it can't even be supported by the customers getting the electricity, they have to steal from the 90% who won't get any electricity from this plant to pay for the 10% that will

Doesn't sound very fair to me ... at all ....

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