Author Archives: Alliant Energy News

Your furnace works harder when it’s colder

Ever wonder why your heating bill is higher in a colder winter even though you set your thermostat at the same level as last year?

Essentially, the greater the difference between the outside temperature and your desired indoor temperature, the more heat your furnace has to generate to make up that difference.

This additional heat that must be generated requires more natural gas, and the natural gas usually amounts to about half or more of your total heating bill.

furnace-infographic

One way to pay the same amount – with no seasonal surprises – is to sign up for Budget Billing, which spreads your energy costs evenly over a 12-month period. The amount you pay is based on the average amount billed at your address over the past 12 months.

Visit alliantenergy.com for more information on how to control your winter heating costs.

Alliant Energy Scores 90 in 2017 Corporate Equality Index

Alliant Energy received a score of 90 on the 2017 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

Alliant Energy’s score reflects a commitment to LGBT workplace equality, with respect to tangible policies, benefits and practices.

The company received full credit for questions regarding:

  • Equal employment opportunity policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity expression.
  • Holding contractors and vendors to the same standards.
  • Providing equal spouse and partner medical benefits.
  • Including LGBT in diversity training at all levels of the company.
  • Representation on the company’s Diversity Council and an employee resource group for LGBT and ally employees.
  • Philanthropic giving, advertising and support of LGBT groups and activities in the communities they serve.

The 2017 CEI rated a total of 1,043 businesses in the report, which evaluates LGBT-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs and public engagement with the LGBT community. For more information on the 2017 Corporate Equality Index, or to download a free copy of the report, visit www.hrc.org/cei.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Extra cash, extra cozy

Energy Assistance can help pay heating bills or weatherize your home. For income guidelines:

  • In Iowa: Call 1-866-674-6327 or visit iowa.gov
  • In Wisconsin: Call 1-866-432-8947 or visit wi.gov

We encourage customers to apply now because funds for this heating season are limited.

energy-assistance-imageEligibility for Energy Assistance is not affected by utility account or home ownership status. If you get behind on your energy bill, call us and we’ll work with you. We’re available at 1-800-255-4268 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It is important to keep current on payments during the winter so you’re not behind in the spring.

Alliant Energy creates new opportunity for Iowa jobs with unique industrial park

A new industrial park in the Cedar Rapids metro area will combine innovative features and expansive space to attract new businesses and jobs to Iowa.

“Alliant Energy’s Big Cedar Industrial Center is a game changer for the state. This large-scale, rail-served industrial site will provide the state of Iowa with a significant advantage as we compete for additional economic investments and new jobs,” said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. “The site will offer businesses greater ability to move products throughout the country and the opportunity to partner with Alliant Energy to develop an energy strategy that meets their individual needs.”

The Big Cedar Industrial Center enables Iowa to compete for new, large-scale development. We are working with landowners to get nearly 1,300-acres under purchase options for the park, which is located in the southwest Cedar Rapids metro area. It is connected to several transportation options including rail, interstate and the Eastern Iowa Airport.

A site of this size is complementary to other industrial parks in the region, and can bring added attention to the area.

“This is a catalyst for economic development in our communities and our state,” said Jeanine Penticoff, vice president of Customer Engagement and Solutions at Alliant Energy. “We couldn’t do this alone. The landowners at this site have joined with us to help grow our region and our state. We are grateful for their involvement.”

We are working with the city of Cedar Rapids, the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance to market the site for development nationally and internationally.

“This project brings together private and public investments to ensure Iowa is the national leader when it comes to connecting businesses to communities throughout the region,” said Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds. “It will give the Iowa Economic Development Authority team an unprecedented tool to successfully recruit new companies, new development and new investment into our state.”

 Learn more at alliantenergy.com/economicdevelopment.

Without energy, Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be much to look forward to

A lengthy list of ingredients goes into every traditional holiday meal, and energy’s just about the least expensive.

1895505-turkey-dinner-info3

We’re thankful we’re able to power holiday celebrations for more than one million customers. Without electricity and gas, cooking on Thanksgiving would be impractical at best and nearly impossible at worst.

The cost of a turkey feast changes every year. The same is true for the cost of energy needed to cook the meal. This year, the American Farm Bureau Federation figures the average Thanksgiving meal for 10 people will cost $49.87.

Depending on your appliances and where you live, the average electricity cost to make Thanksgiving this year is $1.69. If you are using gas appliances, the average cost is $0.43.

Thanksgiving meal Electricity cost Natural gas cost
16 lb. stuffed turkey roasted for 3.5 hours $0.96 $0.25
Pan of mashed potatoes cooked on the stove for 20 minutes $0.11 $0.02
Giblet gravy cooked on the stove for 10 minutes $0.06 $0.01
Dinner rolls baked for 30 minutes $0.14 $0.04
Green bean casserole baked for 30 minutes $0.14 $0.04
Two pumpkin pies baked for one hour $0.28 $0.07
Total energy cost $1.69 $0.43

Here are nine energy tips to make your Thanksgiving dinner prep and cleanup easier and faster.

  • Let the furnace rest. If your holiday cooking doesn’t heat up your house, your guests will. Turn your thermostat down three to five degrees to save energy while staying comfortable.
  • Skip the preheating. The turkey is traditionally stuffed early in the morning and roasted for hours. When cooking meats or dishes for several hours, there is no need to preheat your oven.
  • Use glass or ceramic pans. They heat faster than metal pans, and you can lower the temperature by 25 degrees, reducing energy use.
  • Cooking together saves energy. Cook as much of your meal at one time as possible. Foods with different cooking temperatures can be cooked together, if the temperature difference is less than 25 degrees.
  • Shut the oven door. This Thanksgiving, resist the urge to open the oven door and check the meal. Each opening of the door will decrease the temperature inside by 25 degrees. This means your oven has to use more energy to stay on temperature.
  • Coast to the finish. Food keeps cooking even after you turn off the burner. When food is almost ready, turn off the oven or burners and let existing heat finish the cooking for you.
  • Don’t overlook the microwave. Efficient microwaves use about half the energy of conventional ovens.
  • Clean while it’s hot. If your oven needs a self-cleaning cycle, do it while the oven is still hot.
  • Run a full load. Fill your dishwasher and you will use less hot water than doing them by hand.

Alliant Energy to advance wind project in Iowa

Customers and communities to benefit from low-cost, renewable energy

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – October 27, 2016 – Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility is moving forward with its New Wind Project, which will bring up to 500 megawatts of new wind generation to Iowa. That’s enough to power 215,000 homes.

Alliant Energy is currently working with landowners in Franklin County near its existing Whispering Willow Wind Farm, as well as exploring opportunities to develop in other areas of the state. Construction could start as soon as next year. Alliant Energy expects to place 250 megawatts in service in 2019 and the rest in 2020.

“The New Wind Project will benefit our customers, our communities and the state,” said Doug Kopp, president of Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility. “The wind turbines will generate clean, cost-effective energy for customers. They also create tax revenue for communities, and bring construction jobs and economic growth to the state, making this a win-win project.”

On October 25, the Iowa Utilities Board issued a final order regarding the New Wind Project. The order approves, with limited modifications, the settlement between Alliant Energy and customer groups, which was filed on October 12, 2016.

The New Wind Project will help the company economically meet its customers’ energy need, by maximizing the value of renewable energy tax credits and taking advantage of favorable wind turbine pricing.

“We want to thank our community partners in Franklin County. We also want to thank the Iowa Utilities Board for its work and the organizations that came together to advance this application toward approval. They include the Office of Consumer Advocate, the Iowa Business Energy Coalition, the Large Energy Group, the Iowa Environmental Council and the Environmental Law and Policy Center,” said Kopp. “Through our work together, we are helping to advance clean energy while providing low-cost, reliable energy solutions to our customers.”

More information is available at alliantenergy.com/whisperingwillow.

Iowa Utilities Board order terms:

 

  • The ratemaking principles apply to any new wind facility constructed as part of Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility’s New Wind Project that qualifies for 100% of the federal Production Tax Credits, regardless of its location in Iowa, up to 500 megawatts.
  • Cost cap: $1,830/kilowatt, including allowance for funds used during construction (AFUDC) and transmission costs
  • Return on common equity: 11%, with the exception of certain transmission facilities classified as intangible assets, which shall earn the rate of return on equity authorized by the Iowa Utilities Board in a future rate case
  • Return on common equity used in calculating the AFUDC rate to be the higher of the outcome of the next rate case or 10%
  • Depreciable life of 40 years, unless changed as a result of a contested case before the Iowa Utilities Board
  • Alliant Energy’s Iowa customers shall be entitled to the full value of any environmental attributes, beyond those needed for compliance with applicable regulatory requirements, associated with investment included in Alliant Energy’s Iowa jurisdictional rate base
  • Alliant Energy is permitted to include in Iowa rates the actual cost of the wind project up to the cost cap without need to establish prudence, but required to establish the prudence of any cost in excess of the cost cap
  • Cancellation costs: recovery of prudently incurred and unreimbursed costs, if applicable, amortized over 10 years

You can still light the night pink!

pink-bulb-giveawayIn Cedar Rapids on Thursday we were proud to join forces with Mercy Medical Center to light the night pink. The Power of Pink event marks the arrival of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to promote awareness and early detection.

pink-lightWe gave away energy-saving, compact pink fluorescent light bulbs. Those receiving the light bulbs are encouraged to put them in their porch lights for the month of October as a reminder to get screened for breast cancer.