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Social impact

We consider it a privilege to serve as an integral partner to our customers and communities, delivering safe and reliable energy to nearly 1.3 million businesses, households and families across our expansive 8-state service territory. Our approximately 3,000 employees work together as one team, committed to making a positive impact on the lives of our customers and in the communities we call home.

 


Community and economic impact

We serve 823 communities across an eight-state footprint. Giving back to those communities is part of our history, our culture, and will hopefully be our legacy. Our teams responded to the unexpected demands of COVID-19, including an unprecedented philanthropic response to help support our customers in need. We are proud to share this summary of our community impact activities in 2020, an extraordinary year.

Our charitable giving in 2020 totaled $5.6 million and was directed at the important work of local nonprofits, chambers and economic development organizations who supported our neighbors as they were impacted by COVID. Shortly after businesses were closed and many families started to quarantine at home, we coordinated a $375,000 response to address urgent basic needs through more than 110 organizations in our communities. 

Employee involvement

Each year, our employees give generously of their time and talents to support community organizations and nonprofits across our service territory. This support includes personal contributions to the United Way through monthly payroll donations and one-time gifts. In 2020, nearly 44% of our workforce participated in the company’s annual United Way campaign, contributing at least their Fair Share (one hour of pay per month) for a total of $627,926. Combined with a 25% matching gift by the Foundation, 2020 giving to the United Way totaled over $780,000. In addition, at least 632 employees volunteered their time, including nonprofit board service, mentoring to students in STEM education, coaching youth sports teams, and countless service projects - providing support to more than 1,000 organizations.

 

Ambassador program

The Ambassador 2.0 program is a corporate initiative that began in 2008, providing employees opportunities to serve and lead. Ambassadors serve as positive representatives of our company in both internal and external settings, connecting people with concepts and information on a personal and relevant level – the essence of a grassroots program. Ambassadors are nominated and selected to serve two-year terms that involve volunteering, coordinating initiatives at a local level and participate in key community events. Ambassadors are located in every state in our service area and help represent Black Hills Energy in community engagement, community service and corporate citizenship.

 

Community engagement

In addition to our Ambassador program, we also regularly engage with our customers and communities. Our community affairs team, who leads this engagement, is embedded within each state of our service area. Each state has a formal community engagement plan, unique to the makeup and needs of that area. Multiple tools are used for engagement, both formal and informal, including citizen advisory councils, community technician programs, periodic elected officials surveys and direct outreach.
 

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Inclusion, diversity and belonging

We’re committed to building a diverse workforce representative of the communities we serve, and an equitable and inclusive culture for all. We recognize that each of our team members brings unique and valuable experiences, perspectives, and talents to the organization. With our value of respect as a guiding force, we strive to engage all employees to help create a culture of belonging where every team member can bring the best parts of themselves to work while contributing to business outcomes.


Diversity goals

EEI’s member companies—America’s investor-owned electric companies—have made diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) a strategic imperative for years. Now, and as the next step in this journey, EEI’s member companies have joined together to align their DEI and workforce development initiatives and are pledging to take meaningful action to:

  • Promote racial justice
  • Advance DEI goals and diversify the workforce at all levels
  • Provide more equitable access to employment opportunities for underrepresented and underserved members of their communities
  • Create a workforce that is more representative and responsive to people of all backgrounds
  • Take measurable actions that can address the racial and gender gaps within the industry and accelerate the ability to reach and support those suffering from systemic racism, poverty, and economic disadvantages.
     

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Our safety culture

Safety is one of our company values, a top priority in all we do and deeply embedded in our company culture. We are committed to being the safest utility company in the nation and this requires persistent, daily attention in all we do. Since 2009, we have reduced workplace injuries by more than 82% and continue to see long-term, sustained improvements in our safety practices and performance. In 2020, our Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Total Incident Case Rate (incidents per 200,000 hours worked) was 1.0, well below the utility industry average of 2.2. Our Preventable Motor Vehicle Incident Rate (vehicle accidents per 1 million miles driven) was 2.38 in 2020, also well below the industry average of 3.3. Safety extends to employee health and wellness, in and outside of work, with 76% of employees participating in our proactive safety and wellness program.

Our safety culture extends beyond our buildings and into our communities. In 2020, we conducted nearly 520 public safety trainings to first responders and excavators. We work each day to help our customers and communities learn how to stay safe around overhead and underground electric and natural gas lines.
 

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fire training
employee truck

Positive Energy

  • Kelly Garcia, a single mother of two young children in Columbus, Nebraska, never thought she would be a homeowner. Kelly grew up in a trailer park and says she never had a stable “forever” home.  Soon, though, Kelly and her children will have a house to call their own – thanks in part to a team…
  • We are on a mission to be the safest utility in the country. We work toward this goal everyday by adopting a consistent focus on safety and incorporating regular trainings to keep our people safe.  The Technical Training and OQ Department recently teamed with the Damage Prevention Department to…
  • Like many rural states, Iowa faces a brain drain as graduates move out of their hometown communities seeking more opportunities. We are doing our part to help squelch the drain by exposing students to the opportunities available to them through the company.  Our team in Council Bluffs, Iowa,…
  • As the presenting sponsor at the Small Business Showcase held in April at The Grove at Coler Mountain Bike Preserve in Bentonville, our team interacted with community members by playing Rock Paper Scissors for chances to win a Razorback gift basket, including baseball tickets. The team also staffed…