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PUC Approves Half Of BHP Rate Increase Request

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Residents in Rapid City and the surrounding area are about to see their electric bills go up.

But the rate increase may not be as high as the power company would like. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission approved half of the 9.27 percent  increase Black Hills Power requested.

"Black Hills Power was forced because of EPA regulations to close three of their coal fired power plants." Chris Nelson

P.U.C. Commissioner Chris Nelson says rate increases are never easy.   Nelson says the factors the PUC can consider when company requests a rate increase are set by state law.  

“Black Hills Power was forced, because of EPA regulations to close three of their coal fired power plants, and to replace that then built the Cheyenne Prairie Natural Gas Generating plant.  All of that involved huge amounts of capitol expenditure.   Obviously they had to pay for the costs of putting in news poles and wires after Winter Storm Atlas a year and a half ago.  Another huge expenditure, and so, those are the two big items that that increase takes care of,” says Nelson. 

Black Hills power had implemented the full rate increase last fall.   Customers will see a refund of that extra charge beginning in May.  

PUC officials say the final approved rate increase means a typical residential customer will pay an additional $4.61 per month beginning on April 1st.

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