Utilities Board Declines To Hear Decorah Complaint

Andy Johnson, Executive Director

The Iowa Utilities Board has declined to hear Decorah’s complaint requesting utility data from Alliant, despite their own staff and the Office of Consumer Advocate recommending they do so. The data was requested by the Municipal Electric Utility Task Force in order to update or conduct a new feasibility study, as charged by the city council. The Utilities Board determined they simply did not have legal authority to require Alliant to release the data that Decorah requested. They made no judgement on whether or not they would have required the release, if they had the authority to do so.

In the order, the Board reminded the Decorah community that “There may be many reasons a city might advocate for municipalization … [including] to address service quality issues, become a model for renewable energy, or add additional revenue sources in order to decrease rates via the switching of wholesale power providers. Iowa Code § 388.2 grants a city the right to determine what is best for it and to put municipalization to a vote by its citizenry.”

The Board also agreed with Decorah that IPL has an obligation to present accurate information to communities, and stated “Should [Alliant] engage in the local process and put forth its own numbers, facts, or figures, as [Alliant] did prior to the previous Decorah municipalization vote, the Board would have the authority to ensure IPL was using the correct, most up-to-date information when speaking to customers.”

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