Illinois Electric Rates Update

The Illinois Commerce Commission approved a $16.4 million annual rate increase in November 2014.

MidAmerican Energy had not raised base electric rates in Illinois since 1992. Customers have benefitted from more than 20 years of rate stability or rate decreases. Even with the rate increase, MidAmerican Energy’s rates remain low by both regional and national standards. We are committed to remaining a low-cost electricity provider, controlling expenses, and helping customers save money by using electricity efficiently.

Billing Changes
In addition to the new rates, customers will see a new rate code in the Electric Charges section of the billing statement and new line items that provide more detail on the supply and delivery charges that make up the total bill. Review the following for detailed information about the changes to your bill:

Rate Impact
The following percentages are annual figures based on averages for customer class and will vary for individual customers by month and particularly by season.
  • Residential – 15.2 percent
  • Non-Residential Energy Only – 1.6 percent
  • Commercial Demand – 10 percent
  • Industrial Demand – 13.9 percent
  • Lighting – 23.5 percent

Summer/Winter Rates
The rates customers are billed fluctuates between summer (June – September) and winter (October – May). MidAmerican Energy has always charged different rates for summer and winter periods in its Illinois service territory. Producing electricity in the summer is more expensive than in the winter; therefore, the difference between summer and winter rates after this filing is now significant, and customers will need to budget for higher summer bills than they previously had.

Rate Increase Overview
MidAmerican Energy requested an increase in base electric rates to reflect the current costs of providing safe and reliable electric service to homes and businesses. Prior to the rate increase, electric rates were based on 1992 business-related expenses and needed to be updated for multiple reasons. The rate increase was necessary because of increased environmental compliance costs, increased delivery costs, more than 20 years of general cost escalation, and decreases in wholesale market revenues.

Since 1995, MidAmerican Energy has invested approximately $289 million in Illinois – $108 million in generation facilities; $170.4 million in transmission and distribution structures and stations; and $10.6 million in transmission and distribution operating and maintenance expenses.

The day-to-day operations and maintenance costs such as materials, supplies, and labor associated with generating and delivering electricity, have continued to rise. In addition, the projected cost of evolving environmental standards significantly impacts our business.

Manage Your Monthly Bill – Save Some Green®
MidAmerican Energy offers a number of options to help customers use less energy while maintaining the comfort and efficiency of their home or business:
  • Complete a free online energy assessment.
  • Call 800-545-0762 to find out if a home qualifies for the free on-site energy assessment.
  • Call 800-292-6448 and let one of our energy experts assist you with determining which service best meets your building’s needs. You can complete an online form requesting a callback from our energy experts to help you get started in enhancing the performance of your building.
Energy efficiency specialists will provide information on rebates that customers may qualify for and the programs they may want to implement in their home or business to help reduce energy usage. MidAmerican Energy also offers numerous energy efficiency programs for residential, commercial and industrial customers. Lower energy costs by doing little things like using CFL or LED bulbs, turning off unused lights, and using a programmable thermostat. Review MidAmerican Energy’s top 10 energy efficiency tips for more ideas.

Convenient Bill Payment Options
  • Budget Billing: Ease fluctuations in monthly payments and enjoy the convenience of a more predictable bill with MidAmerican Energy’s free Budget Billing Plan. The total annual cost for electricity and natural gas remains the same. Instead of paying actual energy costs each month, which fluctuate throughout the year, pay the same average amount each month with no unexpected surprises. The average monthly amount is based on past energy use. Access My Account and select Start Budget Billing from the Billing & Payment menu. Follow the prompts to enroll online. A minimum of three months' usage is needed to enroll online.
  • Payment Assistance: Contact MidAmerican Energy at 888-427-5632 if you are having trouble paying your bill. We can discuss a payment arrangement that will allow payments to be made over time and also can provide information on local agencies that may provide assistance. For example, eligible homeowners and renters can seek assistance with home heating and/or cooling needs through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. Though federally funded, LIHEAP programs are administered at the state level, so each LIHEAP program can vary. For program information such as applications, eligibility requirements, available assistance and benefit levels, find the outreach agency in your area.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. When will I see the increase on my bill?
    • MidAmerican Energy is working to implement the final rates approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission in November 2014. Rates will take effect on customers’ billing statements beginning in early December.
  2. Will all of these changes show up as individual line items on my bill?
  3. The charge for the fuel adjustment clause is larger than on my previous bill. Did this charge increase as part of the rate case?
    • The fuel adjustment clause includes the costs for fuel used in company-owned generating stations and purchased power. The charge varies from month to month based on actual fuel and purchased power costs incurred. In addition, as part of the rate case, fuel costs that were previously collected through base rates are now collected in the fuel adjustment clause.
  4. What exactly will the money you collect be spent on?
    • MidAmerican Energy has experienced a number of cost increases that have caused us to raise rates. The increase is necessary because of increased environmental compliance costs related to U.S. regulation, increased delivery costs, and more than 20 years of general cost escalation. MidAmerican Energy is committed to remaining a low-cost electricity provider, controlling expenses, and helping customers save money by using electricity efficiently.
  5. I hear that MidAmerican Energy has lots of customers on budget billing. Is this a good option?
    • Customers who want to ease fluctuations in monthly payments may want to consider MidAmerican Energy’s Budget Billing program. The total annual cost for electricity and natural gas remains the same, but customers have the convenience of a predictable monthly bill amount. The average monthly amount is based on the customer’s past energy use. Participation in the program is free.
  6. Will my budget billing amount increase because of the Illinois rate case?
    • Budget billing is designed to ease fluctuations in monthly bills. This program is one of MidAmerican Energy’s most popular with approximately 40 percent of Illinois customers participating. We are not adjusting budget billing amounts at this time for any anticipated rate increase in Illinois.

      A budget billing amount is typically reviewed every three months and can be reviewed every six months or annually at a customer’s request. During the review process, we will recalculate your average monthly cost by taking projected energy costs into consideration and factoring in your budget balance - the difference between the amount billed and the cost of energy used - to determine the appropriate monthly budget amount.
  7. How can I lower my bills?
    • There are a few things that impact your monthly bill; the quantity of energy used, and the price charged by MidAmerican Energy. We have a number of energy efficiency programs available to help you use less energy while maintaining the comfort level in your home or business. You also can lower your bill by implementing small measures like using CFL bulbs, turning off lights when you leave a room and using a programmable thermostat. MidAmerican Energy's top 10 energy saving tips offer a good starting point for your efficiency efforts.
  8. Why do you have energy efficiency programs? Don’t you want me to use more energy?
    • Efficiency programs help customers control their bills, improve the comfort of their homes and businesses and helps the environment as well.