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The role of state regulatory agencies

Just like public schools, transportation and other public services, energy delivery is regulated by both federal and state governments. Energy is delivered to you through a system that starts with the generation of energy and ends with how you use your energy in your home. Regulatory agencies responsible for overseeing this system ensure utility companies provide their customers with reliable, safe and reasonably priced service. 

Function of regulatory agencies 

Federal and state regulation agencies work together to make energy delivery safe and reliable. The Federal Energy Regulation Commission regulates how rates are set for wholesale electricity and transmission. They also focus on initiatives like strengthening reliability and considering climate change impacts. 

The state regulatory agencies for Iowa and Wisconsin are the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW), respectively. Both agencies set and monitor standards for utility services while primarily focusing on:  

  • Ensuring fair, reasonably priced, reliable, environmentally responsible and safe utility services are available to all customers. 
  • Reviewing and authorizing, where appropriate, large construction projects and generation siting. 
  • Reviewing and approving rate changes. 

When deciding energy rates, commissioners and board members seek to balance the interest of utility customers, the utility, and the public interest so that further innovation and technological improvements can be made while maintaining reasonable energy rates for customers. 

Utility companies like Alliant Energy work with regulatory agencies to obtain approval for new generation projects, rate changes and company reorganizations. Our partnership with our regulators continues to shape future laws and rules that promote fairness, safety, reliability and customer service.
Board member and commissioner appointments 

Both the IUB and PSCW have three board members who serve a 6-year term. The board members and commissioners are appointed by each state’s governor and subject to confirmation by each state’s senate. Terms end every two years during odd-numbered years.  

A fun fact about the IUB: there must be a party split on the board. This means the three members of the board cannot all belong to the same political party. For example, if there are two Republicans serving as board members, the third board member must either be a Democrat or have no party affiliation. The IUB also may not have all members of the same gender.  

Learn more about the Iowa Utilities Board and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin

Grant Barton is a Communications Partner with a passion for sustainability and eco-friendly city planning. He has a diverse background in engineering, politics and international communications and hopes to apply this experience when writing and breaking down complex topics related to Alliant Energy's Clean Energy Future plans.

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