MASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City last night on a vote of four-to-one with one abstention approved a resolution opposing Alliant Energy’s rate increase request. Alliant has proposed a 25-percent hike over a two-year period to the base rate of electricity and natural gas.
Councilman Will Symonds brought forth the resolution after the public hearing held by the Iowa Utilities Board last week in Mason City about the rate increase. “I went to the meeting last week, I have gotten the mailers. I think I understand why they want to put this increase out there. I just feel like it’s a bit much and it would negatively affect our citizens, our attempt to pull in business, and business that’s already here.”
Marty Mensen is the senior manager of Alliant’s Mason City office. He emphasizes that a residential customer’s total bill won’t be increasing 25-percent under the proposal, just the base rate in a person’s bill. “I’m just going to use the example of $100 for ease of use. That doesn’t mean after a 25% increase that your bill is now going to be $125, it’d be less than that. We use the example of a $116 electric bill. So if your bill is $116, you can anticipate that it would go up $8 a month this year in 2019, and then an additional $12 a month in 2020. So that’s about I believe 5 and 10% or so somewhere in their rough numbers per year of an actual overall increase to your bill.”
Councilman John Lee says while he’s not supporting the rate hike proposal, he doesn’t think the council should be passing such a resolution. “I’m not a big fan of the process we’re going through tonight. I guess I would say I’d not a big fan of the increase, but I myself will be voting no against this, just because there is a process for this raise and I don’t think it’s the city council’s role to do this. I would definitely speak my mind, I have no problem doing that, but as a city councilman in process, I’ll be voting no.”
Voting with Symonds were councilmen Paul Adams, Tom Thoma and John Jaszewski. Councilman Joshua Masson abstained from voting, stating after the meeting that he agreed with Lee’s stance that the council should not be considering such a resolution.