DES MOINES, Iowa — Next month, Iowans may pay more in utility costs because of the polar vortex earlier this month.
The Iowa Utilities Board said, “While customers will likely see an increase on their bills, we don’t yet know how much or the timing of when they will see the increases. The IUB is in contact with the rate-regulated utilities (Iowa’s largest utilities: MidAmerican Energy, Alliant Energy, and Black Hills Energy) to discuss the costs associated with the polar vortex and what actions can be taken to spread those costs to reduce the impact on customers.”
However, Iowans will not have to worry about paying high utility bills like residents in Texas. Unlike Texas, Iowa’s grid system is a part of a more extensive grid system in the country. Texas runs off an independent grid system.
Although Iowa’s grid system is a part of a more extensive grid system, if the state were to improve its grid system, people would have to pay more utility bills.
“You’re going to be spending a lot of money, and you’re going to see that money spent in your electric bills,” said James McCalley, a distinguished professor at Iowa State University. “If you want to pay 11 or 12 cents a kilowatt-hour, which is probably what you’re paying now, and have the grid we have or you want to be sort of protected against every possible thing that could happen, [or you can spend] 20 cents [and you’re] probably going to double your energy bill.”
On March 12 at 11 a.m, the IUB plans to meet with the rate-regulated utilities to address how they recover these weather-related costs.