Looking Ahead: Our Commitment to the Community
On May 5th, Pueblo voters chose a better path forward for our community rather than pursuing a municipal utility. We’re pleased with their decision and commend voters for taking the time to understand this complex issue.
We’re grateful for the support of many people in the community. Our Black Hills Energy employees never wavered in their commitment to deliver great service despite a global pandemic and an election that brought uncertainty. I salute their pride and professionalism. I also want to thank Council President Dennis Flores, council member Lori Winner, and former district attorney Gus Sandstrom for their work as campaign co-chairs.
With the election behind us, we know we have work to do. As Pueblo’s energy provider, we also want to continue to be a valued community partner. We’re committed to helping Pueblo and all of the Colorado communities we serve to thrive.
The world has changed in the last few months but our commitment to you has not. We will continue to have conversations with local leaders to make sure we’re supporting the community’s needs today. COVID-19 and the economic aftershocks are hitting our community hard and we want to direct our resources to where they’re needed most. That’s why we are moving forward aggressively on two of our earlier proposals.
- Even More Renewable Energy. Part of our commitment to the community was adding up to 200 MW of low-cost renewable energy through our Renewable Advantage plan. On June 19th, we’ll file our recommendation on renewable energy bids with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. Subject to PUC approval, construction could begin in 2022 with customers seeing savings as early as 2023. This project is designed to reduce customer bills and nearly double our renewable energy making Southern Colorado a clean energy leader in the state.
- Rate Freeze. We have also proposed to freeze base rates for five years through January 1, 2025. Base rates make up 70 percent of the average residential bill and freezing these rates will provide millions in customer savings.
By partnering for economic development and providing a continued flow of support for local organizations working to support our community, we can help make Pueblo an even better place to live, work, and play. One example is the substantial gift we made recently to Pueblo County United Way’s COVID-19 Emergency Response and Relief Fund.
Over the next 90 days, we plan to create a Community Advisory Council. The council will advise our team on community priorities and how Black Hills Energy can help address them. We’ll recruit respected community leaders to serve on the council and will engage in an open, transparent way. Input from this council will help shape the ways we support our community.
The bottom line is that our commitment to support Pueblo and all of the Colorado communities we serve has never been stronger. These are challenging times but Pueblo has overcome many challenges in the past. All of us at Black Hills Energy appreciate the opportunity for a fresh start and we look forward to helping our Colorado communities move forward toward a brighter future.
Get to know Black Hills Energy
- Our job is to deliver clean, safe, and reliable electricity to our 96,000 customers. Since acquiring Aquila in 2008, we've modernized and upgraded Southern Colorado's energy grid to comply with regulatory requirements and to offer our customers with an ample, reliable energy supply for years to come – powered entirely by renewable energy and natural gas – one of the cleanest generating portfolios in the state.
- Our team of Southern Colorado-based employees are the energy behind the electricity. They troubleshoot customer bills, natural disasters and technical challenges across a geographically diverse service territory.
- Our team has achieved reliability that ranks among the best for all utilities in the country, thanks in part to our hardworking IBEW linemen, who work day and night in often harsh conditions.
Driving Economic Development and Prosperity
- We add millions of dollars of positive net economic impact to the community every year, through payroll, tax payments, contracts with local suppliers, energy efficiency rebates and incentives, and contributions to local not-for-profit organizations.
- We are playing a leading role in economic development, supporting legislation permitting utilities to offer a low economic development rate to attract businesses and jobs, securing PUC approval to do so in our service territory and working with PEDCO and city leaders to engage with potential sources of new jobs.
Keeping Energy Affordable
- We are aware of how important it is to keep energy affordable for our customers and we’re committed to doing that. For the past several years, our monthly bills have been stable and in fact have trended down.
- Monthly bills for our customers are comparable to those for customers of nearby rural electric utility cooperatives in Southern Colorado, because our service territory is more comparable to a rural co-op than it is to Xcel or to an urban municipal system.
Serving Southern Colorado with Local, Renewable Energy Sources
Our Southern Colorado grid is among the cleanest in the state, generated entirely by renewable energy and natural gas.
We're proposing to add up to 200 megawatts (MW) of new, low-cost renewable energy resources to our Southern Colorado system.
We continue to provide solar energy options for our customers available through our private, onsite solar program and through our community solar gardens program.
When our newest wind project – Busch Ranch II - is completed in 2019, 30 percent of our generating mix will be supplied by local renewable energy sources.
Committed Community Partner
We have deep ties to Pueblo and southern Colorado – going back more than 125 years – to improve life with energy. With this legacy of service comes our commitment to making a positive impact in all we do so that our communities and neighborhoods thrive.
Learn more about how we partner with our communities and customers, providing the kind of energy that fuels those areas and the lives of those we serve.