Iowa Utilities Board Says No to Alliant’s Opt-Out Fees for Smart Meters

The Iowa Utilities Board has struck down a plan from Alliant Energy to charge customers who opt-out of having a “smart-meter” installed.

The board says Alliant energy and its parent company Interstate Power & Light cannot charge a $15 per month fee for customers who opt out of having the new meters installed on their home. Alliant began installing the meters in 2017, with a goal of replacing more than 500K electric and around 250K gas meters with “smart” or intelligent meters which would remotely send the readings for billing purposes.

The order will require Alliant Energy and IPL to allow customers to opt-out of having the smart meters installed on their home and provide a digital non-transmitting meter at no charge. It would also require actual meter reads a minimum of twice per year, with estimated reads on remaining bills for customers that do opt-out. It would not require Alliant to allow customers to opt-out if a smart meter has already been installed on their home.

The utilities board said they received numerous customer complaints regarding the meters and proposed opt-out fees, public hearings were held last year to address the issues.

The board says this decision will not stop Alliant from seeking the opt-out fee in the future, but it would have to go before the board for approval.