Alliant Energy is reliant on its business model of delivering regulated and non regulated electric and natural gas services to homes, businesses, and industries across the Midwest at the lowest costs it can support. The company's operating utilities, Interstate Power and Light (IP&L) and Wisconsin Power and Light (WPL), provide electricity to about 1 million customers and natural gas to 418,000 customers in four states; the utility's generation division produces electricity at more than 34 power plants, with a total generating capacity of more than 6,290 MW. Non-regulated operations include rail and marine transportation services, and independent power production (including wind farms).
The company has operations in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
In 2013 company’s IP&L utility supplied electric service to 528,355 retail customers and gas service to 234,563 retail customers. WPL supplied electric service to 469,396 retail customers, and gas to 182,647 retail customers. Non-regulated business include transportation and non-regulated power generation.
In 2013 the company owned 19,696 miles of overhead electric distribution line and 2,843 miles of underground electric distribution cable, and 714 substation distribution transformers, (mainly in Iowa and Minnesota). IP&L’s gas distribution facilities included 5,051 miles and 238 miles of gas mains located in Iowa and Minnesota, respectively. In 2013 WPL owned 16,379 miles of overhead electric distribution line and 5,070 miles of underground electric distribution cable, as well as 303 substation distribution transformers (all in Wisconsin). WPL’s gas distribution facilities included 4,131 miles of gas mains.
While the company has reported a slow decline in its revenues since 2009, in 2013 Alliant Energy's revenues grew by 6% to due to IP&L’s retail gas base rate increase and higher energy conservation revenues at IP&L and an increase in weather-normalized retail sales volumes primarily at WPL due to higher gas volumes required by agricultural customers to dry grain in 2013. These items were partially offset by lower revenues caused by a lower gas rate for WPL’s retail gas customers and credits on Iowa retail gas customers’ bills related to the gas tax benefit rider at IP&L.
Alliant Energy's net income increased by 12% in 2013 due to higher revenues and a decline in income tax expenses.
After experiencing improved operating cash inflow in 2012 due to higher net income and a change in the working capital, in 2013 Alliant Energy’s operating cash inflow declined to $731.0 million (from $841.1 million in 2012) due to a change in assets and liabilities as a result of cash used for pension and other benefit obligations and sales of accounts receivable.
The company's primary strategy is to invest in upgrading its core utility businesses with an emphasis on generating more power from renewable energy sources as a way to reduce carbon emissions in order to meet federal and state green energy goals. It also seeks to achieve this while maintaining a competitive cost structure.
Alliant Energy is constructing new wind generating facilities, switching IP&L's Dubuque Generating Station and Sutherland Generating Station to natural-gas fired facilities, and retiring older and less-efficient coal-fired generating facilities. The company plans to invest more than $1.4 billion by 2017 to upgrade WPL's generating fleet. A unit of Alliant Energy agreed to buy (over a multi-year period) more than 300 wind turbines from Vestas-American Wind Technology Inc. for $817 million.
In 2014 Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin utility unveiled plans to expand its Riverside Energy Center by building a combined cycle, natural gas-fueled facility near Beloit, to replace several older generating units in Wisconsin slated for retirement in the next few years
That year it completed rebuilding the Auburndale Substation (which significantly improves the reliability of electric service for residents and businesses in the Auburndale area), andthe Cranston Substation, which improves service for residents and businesses in the middle of the City of Beloit.
To raise cash, in 2013 the company sold RMT, a former renewable energy services subsidiary, to Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives, LLC.
In a major move, that year Alliant Energy also agreed to to sell its Minnesota electric and natural gas distribution businesses for about $128 million. The electric distribution business will be sold to Southern Minnesota Energy Cooperative (a group of 12 neighboring electric cooperatives) while the natural gas business will be sold to Integrys Energy Group unit, Minnesota Energy Resources Corporation.
In 2011 the company sold the environmental business unit of RMT to TRC Companies for $13.3 million to raise cash and focus on its core regulated businesses.
Alliant Energy was created in 1998 by the three-way merger of WPL Holdings, IES Industries, and Interstate Power. Alliant Energy combined the utility operations of IES Industries and Interstate Power to form IP&L in 2002.