MidAmerican Energy Company customers will save money on their energy bills following the passage of Senate File 2311, a bill signed by Governor Kim Reynolds on Friday.
The new law updates energy efficiency spending, resulting in savings for customers. It ensures that MidAmerican Energy can continue to offer a robust set of energy efficiency programs in Iowa at a reasonable cost. Additionally, beginning in 2019, utilities will no longer be prohibited from disclosing mandated energy efficiency charges, helping customers to better understand their monthly bills.
“MidAmerican Energy has been leading the revolution of Iowa’s energy landscape – drastically reshaping it from what it was in 1990 when energy efficiency spending was first mandated,” Adam Wright, MidAmerican Energy’s president and CEO, said. “Thanks to major investments in renewable energy generation, nearly half the energy provided by MidAmerican Energy now comes from wind. This, in turn, has helped make Iowa the nation’s leader in the percentage of electric generation coming from wind – playing a critical role in keeping rates in Iowa among the lowest in the country and making it an attractive place to live and do business.
“At the same time, we’re not resting on our laurels and are continuing to aggressively pursue renewable energy projects for our customers. Our most recent effort, the $3.6 billion Wind XI project, will significantly increase the amount of renewable energy provided to customers, without the need to raise customer rates. When Wind XI is completed, MidAmerican Energy expects to provide 90 percent of customers’ annual energy needs with renewable energy,” Wright continued.
In Iowa, MidAmerican Energy customers pay, on average, more than seven percent of their bills toward energy efficiency programs, the highest in the nation. The legislation’s spending cap will cut that in half, bringing the cost of energy efficiency programming in line with the rest of the country. The caps implemented through the legislation are expected to save MidAmerican Energy’s customers $80 - $90 million per year, while still allowing Iowa to be a leader in energy efficiency. That equates to $80 per year for the average residential gas and electric customer, $195 for the average commercial customer and $9,000 for the average industrial customer.
“MidAmerican Energy believes that a cost-effective energy efficiency program is an important part of a long-term energy strategy. The time was right to rebalance customer spending in this area in recognition of Iowa’s leadership in clean energy. The new law puts money back in the pockets of our customers and provides them with safe, reliable, and increasingly clean energy,” Wright said. “We commend the Governor for advancing energy policy that makes sense for the times.”
The cap on energy efficiency programs will not be implemented immediately. The legislation calls for utilities to file updated energy efficiency plans with the Iowa Utilities Board, requiring IUB to take action by March 1, 2019. The existing energy efficiency plan will remain in effect until a new plan is approved.