Ever wonder who decides which utility serves a new customer? Generally it’s pretty clear cut because there’s only one choice, but there are exceptions. In past cases where neighboring utilities were close or had joint facilities, territorial problems did arise. Since 1979 these questions have not risen as often because the Iowa Legislature established Territorial Protection for electric utilities. This law is enforced by the Iowa Utilities Board (I.U.B.) and any disputes are heard and decided by them.
After the law was passed, utilities had a period of time to jointly decide who was to serve where. The neighboring utilities staff, management and legal council spent untold hours in meetings insuring that their interests and areas were protected. Disputed areas which couldn’t be decided at local level meetings were settled by I.U.B. hearings. Preliminary maps and legal descriptions were submitted by each utility in the state and a composite map was drawn and issued by the I.U.B. All utilities had opportunities to object or adjust the maps before the final draft was accepted by the Iowa Utilities Board and the affected utilities.
These territory boundaries are still in effect and dictate who has the right to serve specific areas of the county and saves the consumer the price of resolving disputes thru the legal process. Some disputes still arise which have to be settled by the I.U.B., but, the majority of questions are answered by referring to the official I.U.B. territory map.
Woodbury County REC is one of the few in the state that did not have to go to legal hearings with any of its neighboring utilities to establish its territory boundaries. Woodbury County REC and its neighboring utilities were able to resolve all boundaries in 1979 prior to the enactment date.
Woodbury County REC’s philosophy is to serve those consumers that fall within its Iowa Utilities Board designated territory.