Answering Alliant

Decorah Power Responds
to Alliant Criticism

Decorah Power is very encouraged by the results of the Feasibility Study presented to city council on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.

The study was conducted by NewGen Strategies and Solutions, a top national consulting firm, and with advice of leading Iowa energy attorney (and former member of the Iowa Utilities Board) Sheila Tipton, of BrownWinick.

It should be no surprise that Alliant is taking aim at the study, especially since the NewGen study is full of careful documentation of methodology, assumptions, and data, while Alliant has so far refused to release similar methodology, assumptions, or data behind the conclusions they presented recently at a community meeting. We would like to correct the misinformation stated by Alliant in their initial response to the study.

1. Alliant claims the study says Decorah would outsource crews and thus be more vulnerable to storm damage or other impacts.

False. The study and presentation made it clear that contracting with another utility for crews and maintenance would be an option, in order to provide solid service from day one while transitioning to in-house capability. Or, a Decorah utility could create its crews from day one. In both cases, crews would be local and response time immediate. The study also presented data showing that municipal electric utility reliability records are, on average, better than those of investor-owned utilities.

2. Alliant claims that because the study includes territory outside of Decorah as part of a potential municipal utility, those people would not get to vote on their electrical future.

Nobody—inside or outside of Decorah—currently has a “vote” on important aspects of their electrical future (such as how clean it is or where the profits go), as those decisions are made far from Decorah. The territory of a potential Decorah utility would ultimately be set by the Iowa Utilities Board, and if it included areas outside of town, we have been advised that the local utility board could then include representation for all customers, not just Decorah residents. The locally-owned utility would make decisions on behalf of the full customer community.

3. Alliant says their study places the value of the local system at $50 million and that Decorah residents shouldn’t have to pay for this system when they’ve already paid for it in utility bills.

Exactly. Decorah area customers have already paid for most of the system through utility bills, and that is why the NewGen study followed the methodology prescribed by the Iowa Utilities Board itself, including depreciation. NewGen engineers spent extensive time on site inventorying assets, determining a “replacement cost new,” and then applying depreciation to ensure we don’t pay double for the assets. This approach is clearly laid out by the Iowa Utilities Board, and followed carefully by NewGen.

We encourage all to take a close look at the NewGen study and our companion Decorah Power report. They are powerful, and they demonstrate that the Decorah area truly can “own your energy future.”