The Iowa Utilities Board has denied a request by Alliant Energy-Interstate Power & Light Company to charge customers a monthly fee for choosing to opt out of the company’s advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) program. IPL had proposed a $15 per month charge to customers who elect to opt-out of having an AMI meter installed. Customers who opt out would be given a non-transmitting digital meter in place of an AMI meter.
The commission went on to direct the company to file revised tariffs that must include the following:

1. Allow all residential customers taking service on the general residential rate to opt out of the AMI meter program.
2. Customers can opt out on an ongoing, permanent basis.
3. Allow the opt-out without any fee or charge to customers at this time. (The board found meter-reading costs are presently included in customers’ base rates.)
4. Allow customers who currently have an analog meter to retain that meter as their alternative until such a time as the meter fails or otherwise must be replaced.
5. Provide a choice of a non-transmitting digital meter or an AMI meter set to pulse only once per month to other customers electing the opt-out option.

The board found that a base rate proceeding would be the appropriate venue for considering such a proposal. It explained that IPL’s customers are paying for meter-reading services in current base rates, and those customers who opt out should not be required to pay an extra charge for a service that is included in their base rates and which is still being provided to nearly all customers whether they opt out or not. Re Interstate Power & Light Co., Docket Nos. SPU-2018-0007 et al., Feb. 6, 2019 (Iowa U.B.).

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