Sunday, January 24, 2016

MidAmerican wind propery tax update

 Here are a couple slides from the property tax filings submitted by MidAmerican (MEC) to the Webster county property tax assessor. See the previous post for a MEC presentation showing higher installed wind project costs than the utility reported to the county. The hand written math calculations were on the document when I received it. 

 There was also a filing in regard to a substation that MEC classified as wind property  in 2013.  Its called the enXco substation, as I think enXco was involved  in the wind project development at this site. MEC does a walk back in this filing, and now asserts the substation is not wind property and will be taxed under the Iowa utility replacement tax, presumably at a lower rate. If this substation was built in order to bring wind electricity onto an area transmission line, it seems like its wind conversion property. If it's an existing substation that was upgraded to accommodate the wind energy, the upgrades should be wind conversion property, as should the small  transmission line and smaller substation listed in the letter. There might be a clause in the Iowa Utility Replacement Tax code that supersedes  427B.26 SPECIAL VALUATION OF WIND ENERGY CONVERSION PROPERTY, but I haven't been able to find it yet.

MEC seems to be telling the county how it is, even though wind energy conversion property is assessed locally. The wording in Iowa code 427B.26 seems to make this a local government choice, not the utilities. The memo to assessors from the department of revenue in the previous post would also seem to suggest this substation should be wind property.   

Since the utility has 20 some wind projects in Iowa, I'm concerned that there may be multiple potential errors in property tax assessments around the state.
More to come.

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