Cody customers of Black Hills Energy stand to see a 2-15 percent increase in natural gas prices if the company is approved to consolidate utilities, according to the Wyoming Public Service Commission.
Black Hills Energy has requested approval from the commission to consolidate its four Wyoming gas utilities into one new legal entity, Black Hills Wyoming Gas, LLC. Black Hills Energy also submitted a regulatory rate review application to the WPSC to consolidate the tariffs, rates, and terms and conditions of service of its existing gas territories in Wyoming.
The rate review proposes new rates to recover investments in safety, reliability and system integrity for natural gas service to 129,500 Wyoming customers.
If approved, the new natural gas service delivery rates would take effect early 2020 for Black Hills Wyoming Gas customers in 56 communities.
Black Hills Energy said it is proposing to consolidate its four gas utilities in Wyoming to simplify and improve service to customers. The company also filed a regulatory rate review application to consolidate and standardize practices to improve efficiencies, reduce costs and improve the value the company delivers to customers.
Black Hills invested $49 million in 2018 and plans to invest $106 million in 2019 to replace, upgrade and maintain nearly 6,000 miles of transmission and distribution pipelines in Wyoming.
“In the Casper and Douglas areas, we are constructing the Natural Bridge pipeline, a 35-mile transmission project, to add additional sources of supply and increase pipeline capacity to meet long-term peak day demand,” said Shirley Welte, vice president of Wyoming Operations. “In the Laramie area we have started work on the Snowy Range Loop, a 4.5-mile pipeline needed to provide reliability due to customer load growth. These and numerous other investments across the state will improve safety and reliability by replacing aging infrastructure, while meeting compliance requirements of state and federal regulations.
“Our investments will also support the local economy, people and businesses of the communities we serve.”
As proposed, residential customer bills will increase, based on geographic location and usage. The increase for commercial customers will vary based on rate class, load factors and total usage. The rate review does not affect the cost of natural gas delivered by Black Hills Energy or Choice Gas suppliers. The natural gas commodity cost is a direct pass-through to customers, meaning there is no mark-up or profit.
“The proposed change in our service rates will enable us to continue our investments in people and infrastructure, meet the needs of a growing system, and continue our commitment to reliability and safety that our customers have come to expect,” Welte said.
The four gas utility operations that will be consolidated include Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power Company-Gas, Black Hills Energy, a division of Cheyenne Light, Black Hills Northwest Wyoming Gas Utility Company, LLC, and the Wyoming assets of Black Hills Gas Distribution, LLC.
For more information, call (888) 890-5554 or visit bhesavemoney.com.