|The IUB is a fact-finding body that hears evidence in cases filed before it and makes decisions based on the evidence presented in those cases. An advocate of neither the public nor the utilities, the IUB is required by state statute to make decisions that balance the interests of all parties to ensure the utilities provide adequate and reliable service at reasonable prices.
Heating Disconnection Moratorium Begins Nov. 1 Iowa’s annual winter disconnection moratorium for qualified Iowa households begins November 1, 2014, and runs through April 1, 2015. The Iowa Utilities Board news release reminds consumers that certification for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or Home Weatherization Program protects qualified consumers from natural gas and electric utility service disconnection while helping to reduce a portion of residential heating costs. LIHEAP and Weatherization funds are limited and general applications are accepted on a first come/first served basis by Iowa’s Community Action Agencies from November 1, 2014, through April 30, 2015.
Notice of Public Comment Opportunity Regarding Recommendations to the Iowa Utilities Board on Water Service Disconnection Rules A Stakeholder Group public meeting will be held in Davenport on October 29, 2014, to discuss recommendations to the Iowa Utilities Board regarding proposed rules to allow water service disconnection of Iowa American Water Company customers for failure to pay sewer, wastewater, or storm drainage service bills. The Board issued an order initiating Docket No. RMU-2014-0004, which appointed Stakeholder Group members to propose rules to implement Iowa Code § 476.20(1)(b). Public comments will be accepted at the meeting, by mailing to the Iowa Utilities Board, Executive Secretary, Docket No. RMU-2014-0004, 1375 E. Court Ave., Rm 69, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0069, and by e-mailing to email@example.com or by completing an online comment form. For more details, see the Board’s informational page and news release.
Board Notice of Inquiry on Distributed Generation On October 21, 2014, the Iowa Utilities Board held a workshop with stakeholders. A draft distributed generation checklist was attached to the Board’s September 19, 2014, order in Docket No. NOI-2014-0001 and was discussed during the workshop. On January 7, 2014, the Board initiated this inquiry to gather information related to policy and technical issues, including net metering and interconnection, associated with distributed generation.
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month The Iowa Utilities Board is joining efforts to promote National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October. The Iowa Information Security Office, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Trade Commission, and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center are working together to raise online security awareness in Iowa. For additional information, visit http://ftc.gov/livinglifeonline.
IUB-OCA Building Honored Again The Iowa Utilities Board-Office of Consumer Advocate Building is featured as the cover story of the October 2014 American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers' (ASHRAE) Journal. In April 2014, the building became only the second project to receive an American Institute of Architects COTE Plus Award after being a 2012 AIA COTE Top Ten Green Building Award recipient. In 2013, the IUB-OCA Building also received LEED® Platinum status. For more information about the building, please visit the IUB Building Informational page and view the KJWW Engineering Consultants’ video.
Board Approves Settlement Freezing Alliant/IPL Electric Rates Through 2016 On September 24, 2014, the Iowa Utilities Board issued an order approving settlement in Docket No. SPU-2005-0015, related to Alliant/Interstate Power and Light Company’s purchase power agreement with NextEra Energy Duane Arnold, LLC. The approved settlement contains an Alliant/IPL electric base rate increase moratorium through 2016 and requires various rate credits for Alliant/IPL electric customers.
MidAmerican Files Customer Refund Report on Disbursement of Insurance Proceeds On September 11, 2014, MidAmerican Energy Company filed with the Iowa Utilities Board its revised report on the disbursement of former manufactured gas plant insurance proceeds to customers in compliance with the Board’s order of May 27, 2014. MidAmerican completed a refund total of $7,222,190.91 among 21,496 of its customers on August 8, 2014. MidAmerican has retained records of the refunds and will include remaining proceeds of $1,843,847.28 into its annual purchased gas adjustment filing for the Board’s review.
Potential Scams Involving Iowa Utility Customers The Iowa Utilities Board has received complaints regarding a variety of payment scams relating to consumers’ utility bills. The Board reminds Iowa utility customers not to provide credit card numbers or any personal information when receiving suspicious calls, emails, or contact from persons at the door claiming to be affiliated with their utility, and who are demanding payment or threatening utility service disconnection. Concerned customers should first contact their utility at the telephone number located on their utility bill or contact the customer service number on their utility website to confirm if any claim for payment is legitimate. If the claim is fraudulent, customers should immediately call local law enforcement officials and the Consumer Protection Division of the Iowa Attorney General's Office at 888-777-4590.
Board Participates in Iowa’s Response Process to EPA Proposal on CO2 Emissions from Existing Power Plants The Iowa Utilities Board is participating in a collaborative process of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for developing Iowa’s response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s June 2, 2014, Clean Power Plan proposal. The EPA’s proposed rule pertains to cutting carbon dioxide emissions stemming from existing power plants by 30 percent by the year 2030. The first meeting of Iowa’s collaborative process was held July 22, 2014, at the IDNR. In a December 2013 letter to the EPA, the Board provided initial comments regarding the EPA’s plans to regulate CO2 emissions from existing power plants. For more information on the proposed rule, visit the EPA’s web site, or the IDNR’s Carbon Pollution Standards web page for information about the Iowa collaborative process.
Regulatory Process for Proposed Pipeline Project Energy Transfer Partners, L.P., has publicly announced a proposal to build a crude oil pipeline across Iowa (Bakken Pipeline), but the regulatory process of requesting a permit from the Iowa Utilities Board, pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 479B, for construction and operation of the proposed line has not begun. The Board will begin receiving statements in support or objections to the project when a case is initiated and an official record is opened with the Board. Please review a summary of the hazardous liquid pipelines process or for additional information, see the Board’s Pipeline Permits information page.
Recent Change in Iowa’s Program to Assist Consumers who are Deaf-Blind The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) in Iowa has recently been changed. As of July 1, 2014, the program is no longer administered by the Iowa Utilities Board and the Iowa Department for the Blind. Helen Keller National Center, Great Plains Regional Office in Shawnee Mission, Kansas, has been selected by the FCC as the new provider for the NDBEDP. Iowa’s program, known as iowaCanConnect, may offer solutions to consumers who cannot use communication tools such as the telephone or computer because of combined vision and hearing loss. NOTE: the program has NOT been discontinued, but during this transition there may be some delay in serving qualified Iowa applicants with equipment and training.
MidAmerican Energy Company Electric Rate Decision On March 17, 2014, the Iowa Utilities Board issued its decision order approving settlement agreement, with modifications, in MidAmerican Energy Company’s electric rate case, Docket No. RPU-2013-0004. On July 31, 2014, the Board issued an order approving MidAmerican's tariff and requiring filings and on August 6, 2014, MidAmerican filed its compliance tariff for electric service.
Rock Island Clean Line LLC is proposing to build a high-voltage direct current transmission line across Iowa. Anyone that files an objection with the Iowa Utilities Board to the proposed project and who receives an automated email message with instructions for delivering notice to other individuals may disregard the message; those instructions do not apply to objections filed in this case. Additional information about the Board’s review process is explained on the Electric Transmission Line Franchise Process page. NOTE: Board Member Sheila K. Tipton was involved in the representation of Rock Island Clean Line, LLC while a member of her former law firm. Ms. Tipton has severed all ties with her former law firm, which no longer represents Rock Island Clean Line, LLC, and pursuant to the applicable rules of ethics, Ms. Tipton will have no involvement in this case.
Iowa Seeks to Help Address Dropped Calls in Nation’s Rural Areas The Iowa Utilities Board continues to be actively engaged in discussions with other states as well as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help resolve ongoing telephone call termination issues. The FCC recently released its rural call completion order (FCC 13-135) and the Board continues to actively monitor this ongoing docket.