Customers and Community

We put customers first and partner with our communities to help create a better tomorrow.

Renewable Programs

Enabling even more clean energy

Customers can connect their owned renewable generation to our electric system. They use our electric system to sell power to us when their systems produce more than is needed and buy power from us when their systems don’t produce enough. For years, we’ve purchased the excess power from customers who have installed solar panels, small wind turbines and other renewable generation sources.

Alliant Energy also buys power from Independent Power Producers who have connected 137 megawatts of renewables directly to our distribution grid. Our company’s support for these non-residential renewable projects enables even more clean energy to be available for all of our customers. These renewables are primarily wind and other renewable generation sources.

Second Nature

The Second Nature program allows our customers to support electricity generated from wind and solar resources located in Iowa and Wisconsin. There is no special equipment to buy and no lifestyle changes needed. Residential customers can choose from three participation levels. All other customers can elect a monthly amount.

At the end of 2018, more than 8,000 customers were participating in Wisconsin and nearly 5,700 customers in Iowa. A third party verifies annually that all electricity purchased on behalf of Second Nature participants comes from qualified renewable resources.

New renewable options proposed

We are expanding renewable options for our Wisconsin and Iowa customers with three new voluntary programs. These renewable options are now available to our Wisconsin customers. Pending regulatory approval, we also expect the programs to be available for our Iowa customers by early 2020.

These offerings include:

  • A community solar program that allows customers to subscribe to energy from a centralized solar garden in a nearby community for a 20-year period, establishing a long-term customer connection. This provides another option for customers to participate in solar energy as a renewable alternative who may not be able to host solar power on their home or business.
  • A customer-hosted renewables program that allows Alliant Energy to partner with commercial or industrial customers who desire on-site renewable energy resources, in exchange for a lease payment to the customer.
  • Individualized renewable energy contracts tailored to the needs of commercial and industrial customers and that are tied to specific utility-owned renewable resources. Customers with multiple accounts would be able to aggregate their service under a single renewable energy contract. 
Saving energy

Energy efficiency programs result in positive impacts

We’ve offered energy efficiency products, programs and rebates for over 25 years. These services allow our customers to save energy and make a positive impact on the environment. In 2018, our energy efficiency programs resulted in additional savings of over 295 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and over 5.6 million therms of natural gas.

2018 Energy efficiency in action
Energy saved was equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions from:

51,000 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles driven for one year

29,000 homes’ energy use for one year

Source: EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator

Customers get more from Wisconsin energy efficiency program

It’s a pretty good deal when you can get more back than what you put into something. That’s exactly the case for our Wisconsin customers when it came to energy efficiency in 2018. Across all types, our customers paid about $8.9 million into the Focus on Energy program – and recovered $10.8 million in incentives. New cutting-edge approaches in communications and marketing drove record usage and incentive dollars received by our customers.

Like most Wisconsin energy companies, our primary efficiency offerings are administered through the state’s Focus on Energy program. Focus on Energy delivers core energy efficiency programs to residential, business and industrial customers.

Iowa customers help achieve appliance recycling milestone

Alliant Energy’s appliance recycling program in Iowa celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018 and a milestone of keeping over 150,000 inefficient refrigerators, freezers and window air conditioners out of landfills. That equates to a carbon emissions reduction of 500,000 tons. 

Participants receive free pickup plus $50 for eliminating outdated appliances, helping them save on their future energy bills and giving them peace of mind knowing that 95% of all the dismantled parts are properly recycled.

Economic Development

Business parks certified to support future growth

Certifying our business sites makes them more attractive for development, putting in place all the key reviews, documents and assessments most commonly required for industrial use. Alliant Energy currently offers 15 growth sites in Iowa and Wisconsin.

Our Big Cedar Industrial Center became the state of Iowa’s first certified, development-ready “Mega Site” in 2018. The 1300+ acre business park in Cedar Rapids received the recognition through the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Certified Site Program. In March 2019, an industrial park created by Alliant Energy and the Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation was certified as Iowa’s 23rd project-ready area for development. Helgerson Flats Industrial Center will provide 64 acres of prime development on the north side of Ottumwa.

Our 730-acre Prairie View Industrial Center in Ames, Iowa, is expected to receive certification by mid-2019. We have also applied for Wisconsin site certification of our 520-acre Beaver Dam Commerce Park and expect it to take place in late 2019.

Learn more about our economic development efforts at alliantenergy.com/economicdevelopment.

Helping customers spurs industrial growth

In 2018, there were 26 new industrial projects across our service area. These projects generated over $866 million in new capital investment and created 1,835 new jobs. Our Economic Development team had a hand in the planning and implementation of these projects. The team works closely with local, regional and state economic development agencies. Our Economic Development team regularly relies on the expertise of others across our company such as the Account Management, Operations, Engineering, Environmental and Marketing groups.

Community Support

Generating station projects benefit communities

Our Economic Development team worked with the state of Wisconsin to determine the economic impacts of three recent projects completed at our Columbia Energy Center. The analysis was done using a software tool put together by Implan, the leading provider of economic impact data and analytical software. 

The analysis looked at $1 billion in investments made at the facility, including projects for communication structures, power transmission and distribution, and air purification and ventilation equipment. Here are some key study outcomes:

  • Roughly 2,800 jobs were created, with a total labor income of $131.8 million.
  • The local taxes generated based on the 2,800 new jobs equaled $3.1 million.
  • The total state and local taxes equaled $9 million.

Taking care during facility closure

Our company has retired several fossil-fueled electric generating stations as we continue to transition toward cleaner energy. These facility closures directly impact the communities they are located in. Our goal is to provide as much lead time as possible to employees and the community regarding a facility retirement. This allows us to do everything we can to assist the impacted employees, keep regular communications with the community and work to support the transition throughout and after the facility closure.

Once a generating station is retired, we work to decommission it and redevelop as much of the site as possible. We work closely with local officials as well as state and federal regulatory agencies to meet all environmental, health and safety requirements to properly reclaim the land. Our goal is to leave the site ready for future use or economic development by the community.

Rendering of Blackhawk Generating Station redevelopment into student center. Opening in late 2019.

Energy for Good promotes community partnerships

We continue to use our Energy for Good. Communities, volunteer organizations and students benefited from $7.4 million in donations and nearly 90,000 volunteer hours given through Alliant Energy in 2018. Iowa and Wisconsin customers were supported with resources from the company, its foundation, employees and retirees.

Through our Community Grants and Hometown Safety Grants, we support nonprofits and community partners in four major categories: helping families, education, the environment, and safety initiatives.

Our corporate giving includes $2 million to Hometown Care for electric and heating bill assistance to families in need. The company, employees and retirees pledged more than $1.2 million to United Way and hundreds of other organizations across Iowa and Wisconsin.

Learn more about Alliant Energy’s community giving efforts at alliantenergy.com/seethegood.

Customer relations

Listening to improve our customer loyalty

Our customers are at the heart of our corporate strategy, and we have implemented a fresh approach to understanding how well we are delivering on their service expectations. In 2019, customers will have the opportunity to tell us how easy it is to work with us to resolve issues such as restoring power after an outage, trimming trees or requesting new utility services. By gathering insights directly from our customers, we hear about specific customer concerns more quickly and can then offer more informed solutions to resolve them and enhance future experiences.

We know from market research that customer effort can provide more accurate predictions of loyalty than customer satisfaction. Even more, low-effort experiences are an indicator of highly efficient organizations. Our 2019 corporate scorecard includes this new “customer loyalty” performance metric that will help us understand the strength of our relationship with customers.

Power Thinkers feedback makes a difference

Power Thinkers is our voluntary online community consisting of over 3,200 residential customers from Iowa and Wisconsin. This interactive resource allows us to hear directly and quickly from customers to provide fast, free and actionable feedback. The input provided informs our strategy and decisions. For example, in 2018 this group provided insights on electric vehicle awareness leading us to coordinate more customer educational events that include a Ride and Drive.

Creating stronger online customer connections

We recently redeveloped two Alliant Energy websites – PowerHouse and Alliant Energy Kids. Both sites are full of resources and in a mobile-friendly format.

Check them out:

PowerHouse: powerhousetv.com 

Who it’s for: Homeowners, old-home enthusiasts and do-it-yourself types

Alliant Energy Kids: alliantenergykids.com

Who it’s for: Teachers of middle school (grades 6-8) and their students

Engaging with our external stakeholders

We partner with our customers, communities and facility neighbors to solve problems, create opportunities and help make life better. Here are a couple of examples.

Outreach to facility neighbors – When we are proposing, developing, siting and building new generation, we meet regularly with neighbors, landowners and local officials. As we continue building wind farms to bring more renewable energy to customers, regular meetings are held with landowners and local officials to inform them about our projects. In Wisconsin, we hold regular meetings with the neighbors surrounding the construction site of our natural gas-fired West Riverside Energy Center. We also produce a newsletter for the neighbors and do periodic mailings.

Community Conversations – In spring 2018, our Economic Development team organized several “Community Conversation” events in Iowa providing company updates to local officials. A member of our Executive Team typically participated in these events that were held in Center Point, Toledo, Carrol, Storm Lake, Washington and Chariton.

More than 70 neighbors of our West Riverside Energy Center are invited every six months to attend an update on its building progress.

Next Up: Culture and People

We work together to make a workplace where people feel they belong and can reach their full potential.