WICHITA, Kan. – June 16, 2021 – Black Hills Energy continues to keep affordable energy for our customers a top priority in response to the dramatic increase in natural gas prices in February.
Black Hills Energy is working closely with the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) to determine the best path forward to manage the impact of increased natural gas costs for customers. Beginning as early as August, the natural gas costs incurred during the polar vortex period will appear as an additional interim line-item on customer bills, which will be subject to final KCC approval. While the recovery of natural gas costs typically occurs over twelve months, Black Hills Energy has instead proposed a recovery of these natural gas costs over the next five years to reduce the impact to customer bills. As proposed, a residential customer will see an average increase of $12.23 each 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 Jerry Watkins, general manager of Kansas operations. “We remain committed to supporting reasonable energy costs. Spreading the cost over the course of five years will result in a lessened impact to customers’ bills,” said Watkins.
Black Hills Energy stood ready to respond to dramatic increases in customer energy demand during the historic February cold weather event. Black Hills 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 to be ready to respond.
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 other assistance options by visiting blackhillsenergy.com/assistance or calling 211 in Kansas to be connected with emergency utility assistance services.