|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.
National Lifeline Awareness Week September 8-14, 2014, is National Lifeline Awareness Week. The federal Lifeline Telephone Assistance Program provides qualified Iowa households with a partial monthly billing discount for only one landline or wireless local telephone service account. For more information about the Lifeline program, please see the Iowa Utilities Board Lifeline news release and Lifeline informational page as well as www.fcc.gov/lifeline/outreach.
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.
2014 Iowa Utilities Board Fall Customer Service Meetings Nineteen meetings with Board staff, various utility companies and Community Action Agencies are scheduled to be held during the month of September at locations throughout Iowa. Please review the meeting schedule for the location nearest you and email your registration request to email@example.com or contact Jane Whetstone at 515.725.7358.
Board Appoints Stakeholder Group Members in Rule Making on Water Disconnections In the 2014 legislative session, House File 2183 established requirements for discontinuance of water service for failure to pay sewer, wastewater, or storm drainage service accounts owed to a city utility, city enterprise, combined city utility, or combined city enterprise. In compliance with the procedures in Executive Order 80, the Iowa Utilities Board has issued an order in Docket No. RMU-2014-0004 appointing members of a stakeholder group to recommend proposed rules to implement the provisions of Iowa Code section 476.20(1)(b), and receive public comment regarding any recommendations made to the Board. Stakeholder group appointees include Julie Smith, Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities; Kenneth Jones, Iowa American Water Company; John Long, Consumer Advocate Division of the Iowa Department of Justice; Jim Odean, City of Davenport; Jessica Kinser, City of Clinton; Kristine Stone, City of Bettendorf; and Don Tormey, Iowa Utilities Board. For additional information, please email Don Tormey or call 515.725.7347.
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 10, 2014, the Board issued its order on applications for rehearing and its order requiring revisions and additional information. The Board’s order on rehearing reaffirmed the rulings of its decision order, denying requests for rehearing, changing the timing for certain reports, and adding a requirement to periodically file information on cost of service. On July 31, 2014, the Board issued an order approving MidAmerican's tariff and requiring filings.
Board Joins with NARUC to Promote Portable Generator Safety Summer storms can cause electricity outages and increased portable generator use. The Iowa Utilities Board, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), and other State Utility Commissions are providing portable generator carbon monoxide safety information for utility customers. While beneficial during power outages, portable electric generators can be hazardous and even life-threatening if used improperly, particularly due to carbon monoxide emissions. For more information, see the NARUC website.
Board Opens Notice of Inquiry on Distributed Generation On January 7, 2014, the Iowa Utilities Board initiated an inquiry to gather information related to policy and technical issues associated with distributed generation. Initial public comments from more than 170 participants were received by the Board. On May 12, 2014, the Board issued an order requesting additional information on net metering, interconnection, and consumer protection issues as they relate to distributed generation. Those responses were due June 24, 2014, and are being reviewed before the Board determines the next step(s) in this docket.
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.
IUB-OCA Building Honored On April 22, 2014, the Iowa Utilities Board-Office of Consumer Advocate Building became only the second project to receive an American Institute of Architects COTE Plus Award, which is awarded to one former AIA COTE Top Ten Green Building Award recipient each year. Projects are selected for exceeding building performance expectations. The IUB-OCA received a COTE Top Ten Green Building Award in 2012. In 2013, the IUB-OCA Building also received LEED® Platinum status. For more information, please visit the IUB Building Informational page.