Iowa’s large energy users want electricity choice. Here’s how that works in four other states

Cedar Rapid Gazette
Erin Jordan

A coalition of Iowa’s large energy users wants the option of buying electricity on the open market rather than from MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy.

A spokesman for the coalition — its members want to be anonymous — said allowing large energy users, such as tech companies, manufacturers and agricultural processors, to shop around for electricity generation will help Iowa retain these firms and recruit new ones.

“We believe it will spur competition and improve decision making and therefore improve energy costs for everyone,” said R.G. Schwarm, executive director of the Iowa Economic Alliance and a lobbyist with BrownWinick Law in Des Moines, in an interview.

Twenty states, including Iowa, require customers to buy their electricity and natural gas from utilities set for their geographic region. The other states allow some energy choice, either for electricity, natural gas or both, according to the American Coalition of Competitive Energy Suppliers.

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