Starting a city-owned electric utility is expensive and risky, which is why it is important to understand the facts before making up your mind, according to officials with Alliant Energy, the city of Decorah’s current electrical provider.
Alliant is holding a “community conversation” on the proposal to establish a municipal electric utility in Decorah. It is Thursday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. in Carrie Lee Elementary School auditorium, 210 Vernon St., Decorah.
Purchasing a utility will lead to higher bills and would put the reliability in jeopardy, Alliant officials said.
Concentric Energy Advisors will present its feasibility study to the public during Thursday’s presentation. Licensed-certified general appraiser Ann Bulkley will explain why it would cost Decorah taxpayers $50 million to start a city-owned electric utility.
Bulkley will also explain step-by-step why residents would have to pay 30 percent more to help a municipal electric operation pays its bills. Bulkley has testified before the Iowa Utilities Board and reviewed Alliant Energy’s Decorah energy grid using methods accepted by the board in previous municipalization attempts.
Her side-by-side comparison shows Decorah Power dramatically underestimated the costs to buy and run an electric utility, according to Alliant. Bulkley’s independent study demonstrates that Alliant Energy’s service with local crews in Decorah will continue to be more reliable, affordable and sustainable than any alternative.
Alliant Energy has served the Decorah area for 100 years. Its local crews have more than 365 years of combined experience, which helps explain why Decorah residents experience an outage once every six years that lasts on average 17 minutes.