Rapid City, SD – May 14, 2021 – Black Hills Energy continues to keep safe, reliable, and affordable energy for our customers a top priority in response to the frigid arctic temperatures and dramatic increases in energy commodity prices during Winter Storm Uri in February 2021.
Black Hills Energy stood ready to respond to the extreme cold temperatures and increased customer demand for energy. Team members continually monitored energy supply and adjusted as needed to support system integrity and meet extraordinary customer demand. Locally, technicians bundled up to physically inspect and monitor key infrastructure and as a result Black Hills Energy was able to keep electric power flowing and avoided any major interruptions to its customers during this period.
The extreme widespread cold temperatures and demand for natural gas increased fuel and purchased power costs required to generate and deliver the electricity needed to keep life saving energy flowing uninterrupted to customers.
Black Hills Energy has worked to determine the best path forward to manage the impact of increased fuel and purchased power costs for customers. With approval from the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (SDPUC), effective June 1, the fuel and purchased power costs incurred during the February cold weather period will appear as an additional line-item on customer bills.
Black Hills Energy will recover these February cold weather energy costs over the next 12 months, beginning on June 1, 2021 and ending on May 31, 2022, to reduce the impact to customer bills. As proposed, an average residential customer using 670 kilowatt hours per month will see an increase of $11.06 per month.
“The financial well-being of our customers is important to us and we recognize how these additional costs can impact a family budget” said Marc Eyre, vice president of South Dakota electric operations. “We remain committed to supporting reasonable energy costs. Spreading the cost over the course of 12 months will result in a lessened impact to customers’ bills,” said Eyre.
Customers worried about affording their bill are encouraged to enroll in Budget Billing, which is a free payment plan that averages the amount you pay each month. This budget option supports customers looking to avoid the seasonal increases in bills that result during extreme weather by averaging out usage during the past year. Customers can also seek out other energy assistance options administered by The Salvation Army or Helpline 211 to get access to emergency utility assistance services.