Thanks to a local customer of MidAmerican Energy, who filed a lawsuit approximately six years ago, the Iowa Supreme Court has ordered the City of Des Moines to refund a portion of the "franchise fee" it collects on gas and electric bills, upholding a district court judge who has ruled some of the fees to be unlawful.
On Friday, the Court upheld the lower court's ruling that the case can be certified as a class-action lawsuit, to include ALL Des Moines utility customers. The refund has been estimated to be about $40 million. Des Moines residents who paid their MidAmerican Energy bills between 2004 and 2009 can expect a refund of hundreds of dollars from the City. It has been estimated that the "average" family can expect to see a refund check of up to $450!!!!!
I was very surprised, and excited, to hear this news, as our electric bills have been steadily increasing over the past few years. Even with having budget billing, the monthly bill is rather steep. Therefore, I'm happy that the City lost this case and can't wait to get a nice refund check in the mail!
The lawyers are pushing for lump-sum checks for individual homeowners; however, the City could ask the court for other methods of repayment, such as credits for city services, free admission to swimming pools, or checks paid in installments over several years.