Pending Electric Rate Shocks: Make Your Voice Heard

Jim Martin-Schramm

Last fall, Alliant Energy sent a notice to customers about its application to the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) to increase rates.  

For many, Alliant’s notice might have been missed or swept into the recycling bin without much thought.  Not at Luther College.  Luther’s Director of Facilities Services immediately set about figuring out how Alliant’s rate increase would impact the college.  He was stunned.

Luther College is facing a 48.2% increase in its Alliant Energy bill if the IUB approves the company’s proposed electric rate increase as proposed.

“You can imagine my dismay when our Director of Facilities Services informed me that Alliant’s proposed electric rate increase would not increase our bill by 20%, as the company estimates in their customer notice, but rather by 36% under Phase I ($371,464) and an additional $85,700 after Phase II. The total increase is calculated to be $457,200 or 48.2% increase over our 2022-23 invoice totals,” said President Jenifer K. Ward in comments she sent to the Iowa Utilities Board on February 13, 2024.

President Ward goes on to say: “It feels like we are being punished for our investments in efficiency and renewables. We certainly are not being rewarded for reducing our demand on the grid and the production of energy during many of the peak hours of the day. . . . In my view, Alliant’s proposed increase is punitive and unjust. It will have a severe negative impact on Luther College, and the significant proposed increases for residential customers (13.4%)  and small businesses (20%) are going to harm Luther’s employees and Decorah’s vital downtown businesses.”

One of those downtown businesses is the award-winning restaurant, Rubaiyat.  An analysis performed by the Clean Energy Districts of Iowa (CEDI) has revealed that the restaurant is facing a 38% increase in its electricity bill, which is almost twice the 20% average increase Alliant has told businesses that they will experience.

“I’m just sick about the potential of that big of an increase. . .  I feel so helpless and frustrated,” said Rubaiyat’s co-owner, Kim Carlson-Bonnet.

Other analyses performed by CEDI for local businesses and institutions in the area indicate that some customers will likely have larger increases than the average 20% increase the company has projected. The same will likely be true for residential customers.

One of the things driving Alliant’s increased costs is the cost of electricity in the summer.  For residential customers, it is scheduled to increase 57.4% from 11.685 cents/kWh in 2023 to 18.408 cents/kWh once the rate increase has been fully phased in. This will significantly increase the energy burden for households living paycheck to paycheck and for those in large homes and/or those with inefficient air conditioning systems. 

For businesses taking service under Alliant’s non-residential general service tariff, electricity will increase 87% from 11.916 cents/kWh to 22.295 cents/kWh.  Some businesses will see their summer electricity bills more than double.

These increased costs will be significantly exacerbated by Alliant’s proposal to eliminate declining cost block pricing for residential and commercial customers.  The cost increase will be mitigated slightly by Alliant’s decision to limit summer rates to June, July, and August, which is one month less than is currently the case.

Alliant’s proposal to raise electric rates is its third in seven years, and the largest in its history.  Alliant’s residential rates are almost the highest in the State of Iowa and third highest in the Midwest among investor-owned utilities of similar size.

If you are concerned about how this rate increase could affect your home or business, make your voice heard.  The Iowa Utilities Board encourages all citizens and ratepayers to voice their perspectives to the Board by submitting comments by email to or by mail to Iowa Utilities Board, 1375 E. Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319-0069.  All communication should reference Docket RPU-2023-0002 in the subject line of the email or letter.

The Clean Energy Districts of Iowa is an official intervenor in the Alliant electric rate case as the CEDI Coalition, which currently consists of 47 communities who oppose the magnitude of Alliant’s proposed rate increase.  To date, 83 communities have filed with the IUB a resolution drafted by CEDI opposing the rate increase. The City of Decorah was the first to sign the resolution and to join the CEDI Coalition.

I urge you to make your voice heard at the Iowa Utilities Board.  The first round of testimony is due on April 16 and the legal hearing will take place at the IUB July 9-12.  The Board will likely issue its final decision and order shortly thereafter.  


Jim Martin-Schramm is on the Board of the Winneshiek Energy District.  He also serves as a Policy Analyst for the Clean Energy Districts of Iowa and as the manager of the CEDI Coalition.

Share this Post