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Iowa Utilities Board Newsletter - October 2022

Government and Politics

October 5, 2022

From: Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds

Mission: The Iowa Utilities Board regulates utilities to ensure that reasonably priced, reliable, environmentally responsible, and safe utility services are available to all Iowans.

Vision: The Iowa Utilities Board is valued as the regulatory expert and solutions-oriented partner regarding utility issues.

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The Iowa Utilities Board newsletter is produced by IUB staff and provides information to Iowans and utility industry stakeholders about various dockets, programs, and functions of the IUB. The IUB newsletter is published quarterly.

Governor Reynolds Joins IUB, Excavation Industry Stakeholders to Promote Safe Digging at State Fair 811 Day Ceremony

On August 11, 2022, Governor Kim Reynolds joined the IUB and excavation industry stakeholders to sign a proclamation during a ceremony on the first day of the Iowa State Fair (August 11) recognizing National 811 Day in Iowa. The ceremony was held in the Iowa One Call booth at the William C. Knapp Varied Industries Building.

The proclamation supports Iowa's One Call Law, safe digging and the protection of vital underground utilities. Calling 811 has proven to be the foremost preventive measure in excavation safety and damage prevention of underground utility infrastructure. Visit the IUB's website to learn more and to watch a video on Iowa's One Call Law.

IUB Contributes to Enhancements for Iowa's Online Tax Portal on Renewable Energy Tax Credits

The rollout of the second phase in GovConnectIowa, Iowa’s new online secure tax portal, is scheduled to go live in November.

The State launched GovConnectIowa in November 2021, supporting functionality from the Department of Revenue, Iowa Lottery, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, and Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division.

This second phase rollout is part of the State's multiyear effort to simplify tax processes for taxpayers doing business in Iowa and will include, among other functions, the ability to apply for tax credits and manage tax credit certification for businesses.  The IUB, is one of seven additional state agencies preparing to add functionality to the portal.  This second phase will directly affect the tax credit applicants currently accessing the CACTAS (Tax Credit Award, Claim and Transfer Administration System) portal to apply for Renewable Energy and Wind Energy Productions Tax Credits.

Since March 2022, IUB staff have been directly involved with the Tax Credit Modernization Team in the effort to create the application users will access in November 2022.

The project is currently in the end-to-end testing stage and cutover is scheduled to occur in late October / Early November.

Additional infomation is expected in mid-September and will include, among other details, instructions for CACTAS tax credit applicants on how to retrieve historical documents from CACTAS, and the deadline for completing retrieval.

Additional communication, including education on how to use the new portal, is scheduled to be released in October and November from the Iowa Department of Revenue. Also, information will continue to be updated on the IUB's Renewable Energy Tax Credits webpage as it becomes available.

IUB Participates in Energy Emergency Exercise During National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month is an observance each September to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies. On September 22, 2022, the IUB participated in an energy emergency tabletop exercise and training event at the State Emergency Operations Center. Representatives from Iowa's private, public and cooperative utilities participated with key state and federal government agencies tasked with responding to energy emergencies. 

The event included briefings and training sessions provided by the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the US Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Department of Energy's Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. 

In addition to the educational sessions, participants conducted two separate tabletop exercises. The first simulated a severe weather event in the summer, and the second involved a winter storm event. Both events simulated a disruption of utility service, such as electric, natural gas, and communications services.  

Preparedness exercises foster communication and understanding across public and private sectors of roles and responsibilities that ultimately help participants better anticipate each others' needs, priorities and capabilities during these types of emergency situations. The IUB would like to thank every organization who participated for their contribution to making the state more prepared to respond to catastrophic energy emergencies in the future.

IUB Encourages Utilities to File Customer Contribution Fund Reports   

Under Iowa law, energy utilities are required to operate a fund that allows utility customers to voluntarily contribute money for deposit in a low-income heating assistance fund. The contributions are used to assist low-income persons in paying their energy bills and with weatherization. Each gas and electric utility operates an independent fund under such names as Project Share, RECare, and I CARE. 

On August 1, 2022, all natural gas and electric providers in Iowa received notice, under Iowa Code § 476.66, to file their 2022 Customer Contribution Fund Report (CCF) with the IUB by September 30, 2022. The Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, Iowa Association of Rural Electric Coopertives, and the Iowa Utility Association were also contacted to urge their members to file the required reports. 

With the CCF filing deadline approaching, the IUB thanks the companies that have filed their reports prior to the deadline and encourages companies who have yet to file, to do so as soon as possible. For questions, email IUB Customer Service staff at customer@iub.iowa.gov or call 515.725.7321 or 877.565.4450.

Federal Pipeline Safety Agency Reviews IUB Pipeline Safety Programs, Approves Grant Funding Costs

On August 25, 2022, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) conducted a review of the Iowa Utilities Boards (IUB) Pipeline Safety Program to ensure the accountability for the federal grant-in-aid funds awarded by PHMSA to the IUB for the calendar years 2019, 2020, and 2021.

The grant funds are utilized by the IUB to accommodate Safety and Engineering (S&E) staffing and to purchase protective equipment and tools used by staff to conduct inspections of pipeline projects and operators in Iowa. Under PHMSA authority, the IUB's S&E staff inspects the transportation of natural gas and liquid propane by pipeline systems.

The IUB inspects seven private, 51 municipal, and one cooperative natural gas pipeline distribution operators and one liquid propane distribution operator. In addition, the IUB inspects 42 intrastate natural gas transmission and two liquid natural gas intrastate pipeline operators.

PHMSA has concluded that, overall, IUB submitted allowable, reasonable, and necessary costs for reimbursement for their program activity.  In addition, no issues were found with One-Call and State Damage Prevention grant expenditures.

IUB Targets early October to Issue Remainder Assessment Invoices  

September 15, 2022, was the final day for IUB accounting to process payments for state fiscal year 2022 (FY2022). Vendor payments have been processed, payments received have been recorded and other accounting duties related to FY2022 have been completed.

After the final vendor invoices have been paid and the fourth quarter direct assessments have been sent out, the IUB accounting team shifts focus to calculating the annual remainder assessments for the recently closed fiscal year.

The remainder assessment is the amount between the total fiscal year cost of operations, minus the direct quarterly assessments that have already been issued. The annual total of all invoices is equal to the total operating costs, less any other revenues received.

The amount of each remainder assessment is the result of a calculation, based in part, on the annual revenues that are reported by utilities each year.  These paymentes are deposited into the Commerce Revolving Fund in order to make the IUB whole for expenses in the previous fiscal year.

ANTICIPATED

BILLING

DATES

Billing

Fiscal Year Ends

Target Issuance Date

Remainder

June 30

October 15

Quarterly

Quarter Ends

Target Issuance Date

1

September 30

November 1

2

December 31

February 1

3

March 31

May 1

4

June 30

August 1

 

IUB Hearing and Meeting Calendar

Monthly public Board meetings may be attended in person or viewed via livestream. (Board meetings begin at 9 a.m.)

  • October 11
  • November 8
  • December 13

Public Hearings are scheduled in the following dockets:

  • HLP-2021-0002, NuStar hazardous liquid pipeline, 9 am, October 19, Quality Inn & Suites, 6169 Reve Ct, Fort Madison
  • EPB-2022-0156, MidAmerican, 1 pm, December 13, IUB Hearing Room, 1375 E. Court Ave., Des Moines

Public Meetings are scheduled in the following dockets:

  • E-22436, SOO Green, 9 am, December 15, IUB Hearing Room, 1375 E. Court Ave., Des Moines

Public Informational Meetings are scheduled in the following dockets:

  • E-22530, MidAmerican Energy Company, 5:30 pm, December 1, Looft Hall, Iowa Western Community College, 2700 College Rd., Council Bluffs