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Yes or no? Gas utility vote set for November 7

October 13, 2017
Ross Bercik - Managing Editor , Traer Star-Clipper

As yard signs supporting one side of the issue or the other continue to pop up across Traer, one simple question remains: Yes or no?

At issue is the formation of a gas utility here in Traer - a YES vote would pave the way for local control of natural gas service under the authority of Traer Municipal Utilities. A NO vote would maintain the status quo of Alliant Energy providing natural gas service to the community.

On the evening of October 4, a town hall meeting hosted by Citizens for Traer's Future - a local organization which supports a YES vote - was held at the Traer Public Library. Alliant Energy plans to host a similar town hall presenting their side of the argument on Thursday, October 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the North Tama Activity Center.

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Terry Kouba, Alliant Energy's Vice President of Operations will lead the information meeting. Among the topics set to be discussed are the longtime relationship Alliant has had with the community of Traer, stretching back half a century.

"Alliant Energy has served Traer professionally, inexpensively and reliably for more than 50 years," said Alliant Energy's Mike Wagner. "Our local team brings a combined 130 years of experience and each member has more than 8,000 hours of training before becoming fulling certified. We've operated the system safely and reliability and continue to invest back into Traer's system."

According to Alliant, as natural gas prices have lowered, the savings have been passed onto consumers with an average drop of 19 percent compared to just 4 percent for municipal gas utilities.

"The struggle for municipal utilities to break even is reflected in the most recent update from the Iowa Utilities Board from 2015. Those public documents show 23 of the 52 municipal gas utilities have a negative operating income. They also show that 15 of the 23 are losing money while charging more for natural gas than Alliant Energy," Wagner said.

"Our customers are paying 19 percent less for natural gas today than they did just six years ago," said Wagner. "Our meeting will focus on the value of Voting No on November 7, lower natural gas costs, experienced service with years of expertise, and reliable natural gas delivery."



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