Senate panel passes nuclear energy legislation

Source: MidAmerican Energy

Tuesday evening, the Iowa Senate Commerce Committee passed House File 561, legislation that will enable MidAmerican Energy Company to continue to pursue the potential of new nuclear generation in Iowa. The legislation does not authorize MidAmerican Energy to move forward with a nuclear project or increase rates to customers. The next step in the legislative process is a vote on the legislation by the full Senate.

“MidAmerican Energy appreciates and thanks lawmakers for recognizing that this legislation is important in order to keep nuclear generation available as an option for supplying base load power,” said Bill Fehrman, president and CEO. “We look forward to continuing to inform our customers and other stakeholders about the benefits of keeping nuclear as an option for Iowa.”

During the committee process, several amendments were adopted that provide additional consumer protections if MidAmerican Energy would decide to present a business plan for a nuclear facility to the Iowa Utilities Board.

An amendment was passed that will require the Iowa Utilities Board to conduct a review of the utility’s expenditures each year to make sure they fall within a predetermined cap and are rational and prudent. In addition, language was added to the bill, making it explicit that the utility pays costs first before any costs are collected from customers. Customers will not be asked to prepay for a project.

“MidAmerican Energy always has been focused on making sure this legislation has extensive customer protections,” Fehrman said. “These amendments strengthen the Iowa Utilities Board’s oversight for all costs associated with the project.”

MidAmerican Energy’s Iowa electric customers have enjoyed stable base electric rates for 16 years. During that time, the company has made significant investments in generation, including building nearly 1,900 megawatts of wind generation, making the company the No. 1 owner of wind-powered generation among U.S. rate-regulated utilities. The company has a long history of prudently managing costs, while doing what is in the best interest of customers.

This legislation is an important component of Iowa’s ability to remain competitive at the global level and create the kind of jobs needed in the state. MidAmerican Energy remains committed to meeting customers’ future energy demands in an environmentally responsible and affordable manner. 

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