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PUC Sets Schedule For New Tax Calculations

The federal tax reduction for corporations is now in effect. In anticipation, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission has set a schedule for investigating how tax cuts can be passed along to energy consumers.

The PUC will hear from six investor-owned South Dakota utilities in two stages. The first deadline for reports is Feb. 1. After that, PUC staff will work with each utility individually to come up with numbers.

In formulating a plan of action, PUC staffer Brittany Mehlhaff says all rates should be adjusted and subject to refund.

She outlines considerations that illustrate how complicated calculations could be.

"So that would include not only base rates, but also any riders and statement on our calculations within the fuel clause," Mehlhaff says. "Then we would also recommend the commission investigate how federal income taxes will be adjusted through the FERC transmission tariffs that are collected through the adjustment clause to see if there is a need to make any filings before the FERC."

FERC is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

PUC commissioners have said the process of calculating costs could last throughout 2018 and perhaps longer. Because the PUC took action last week, savings are recoverable and refundable retroactively to Jan. 1.

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