GILLETTE, Wyo. — Black Hills Energy announced today that it has filed a rate review application with the Wyoming Public Service Commission seeking an increase in base rates of $19.3 million to recover capital infrastructure and operational costs for natural gas service.
If approved as proposed, the hike would start in the first quarter of 2024, the company’s news release said. Residential customers with average use would see an increase of about $6.74 per month. Small general customers could pay about $13.70 more per month.
The utility company said the hike is necessary to enable safe, reliable natural gas service for customers in Wyoming.
“Black Hills Energy spends millions of dollars each year to safely operate, maintain and update more than
6,400 miles of natural gas system infrastructure, which provides critical and reliable energy to over
133,000 households and businesses in 56 communities across the state,” the release said. “Since its last rate review in 2019, the company completed more than $140 million in system safety, integrity and reliability projects for its natural gas utility system in Wyoming. These critical projects were required to support the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas and transportation services and meet compliance requirements of state and federal regulations.”
The company is also asking the commission for permission to extend the Wyoming Integrity Rider of 2019, which otherwise expires in 2023.
The rider supports ongoing infrastructure replacement projects and gas meter and yard line replacement projects driven by federal regulations. From 2020 through 2022, the company has undertaken more than 40 integrity projects and more than 1,800 meter replacements in Wyoming cities.
Wyoming Operations Director Dustin McKen said the company is responsible for consistently, prudently spending money to support its natural gas system’s safety and reliability.
“We recognize the impact these investments can have on customer bills so we are very diligent in our planning,” McKen said.