MidAmerican holds meeting for proposed rate increase - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

MidAmerican holds meeting for proposed rate increase

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The increase will roll out in three phases, the first of which is in August. Customers will notice a $2.70 average increase on their monthly bill at first. The increase will roll out in three phases, the first of which is in August. Customers will notice a $2.70 average increase on their monthly bill at first.
WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Floyd Junkers owns and operates his own welding business in Waterloo. Financially, things haven't been easy for him lately.

"I'm having a hard time. A lot of my friends are having trouble, also," he said.

That's why Thursday night he went down to voice his opinion at the community meeting on MidAmerican Energy's proposed rate increase.

"You know, I can't afford it, and I don't know. I'm not driving around in new trucks like every other corporation is, you know?" Junkers said. "I don't see that they're sacrificing like the rest of us are."

The increase will roll out in three phases, the first of which is in August. Customers will notice a $2.70 average increase on their monthly bill at first.

By the end of three years, the total increase will be $8 per month, or about 11 percent.

MidAmerican said the increase is necessary to covering rising infrastructure and operating costs.

"We have not had a base rate increase since 1995," said Terry Ousley, Vice President of Customer Satisfaction for MidAmerican. "Since that time we've had over $5 billion invested in our infrastructure and also our generating stations. And our operating costs have gone up $300 million a year."

The community meeting tonight was one of eight across the state. Ousley said they have received a lot of what he calls "constructive criticism."

But it hasn't been all negative.

"We are getting some good comments, too," he said. "Good comments regarding our level of customer service and also our low rates."

He said MidAmerican is the tenth-lowest cost energy provider in the U.S.

Though the increase will begin in August, it must still be approved by the Iowa Utility Board in a March decision. If it is not, the extra money collected will be refunded to customers.

Several factors will weigh in that decision.

"There are statutory guidelines," said Rob Hillesland of the Iowa Utility Board. "(The board members) have to look at what is just and reasonable under the statutes."

If approved, theMidAmerican proposal will also equalize billing rates for customers in various zones across Iowa.

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