MidAmerican Energy Co. today filed an application with the Iowa Utilities Board for approval of a five-year energy efficiency program that meets new spending caps by utilities on those programs enacted by the Iowa Legislature earlier this year.  

If approved, the Iowa Energy Efficiency Plan 2019-2023 will result in annual savings of nearly $84 million in reduced energy efficiency program fees for MidAmerican Energy’s Iowa customers, the Des Moines-based utility company said in a release. Residential customers with gas and electric service would see an average savings of $81 per year, while commercial customers would average $172 in savings. The average industrial customer would save more than $12,000 annually. 

MidAmerican Energy’s proposal includes 14 energy efficiency programs, paid for with a five-year budget of $257 million from mandated energy efficiency charges on customers’ bills. Customers can draw on those funds to pay for qualifying energy-savings products and services; the utility company does not profit from the program. 

More than 7 percent of MidAmerican Energy customers’ average bills go toward energy efficiency programs, the highest in the nation. An Omnibus Energy Bill signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds in May capped those fees at 2 percent for electricity and 1.5 percent for natural gas utilities. Beginning in 2019, customers will see the mandated energy efficiency charges on their bills helping them to more fully understand the cost they pay into the programs. Prior to the passage of the energy bill, this disclosure was prohibited. 

“MidAmerican Energy is offering our customers the best of both worlds,” President and CEO Adam Wright said. “MidAmerican Energy’s proposed energy efficiency plan will put money back into our customers’ pockets and still provide a wide range of programs to encourage taking action to save energy. And, given the maturity of today’s energy efficiency marketplace, coupled with our continued 100 percent renewable energy commitment, it’s the perfect time to rebalance the program to match the times.” 

Among programs funded in the proposal are online home energy assessments, incentives to replace older heating and air conditioning equipment with new high-efficiency models, appliance recycling, and rebates to purchase smart thermostats. Some programs that will no longer be offered under the proposed plan include the Plant Some Shade, Upstream Retail Lighting and Residential New Construction programs. 

The Iowa Utilities Board will conduct proceedings to review MidAmerican Energy’s proposed plan and will take action by March 31, 2019. Until a new plan is approved, the company’s existing energy efficiency programs remain in effect.