Black Hills Energy has submitted a regulatory rate review proposal to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to consolidate the rates, tariffs and services of its existing gas territories in Colorado. The rate review also proposes to recover investments in safety, reliability and system integrity for natural gas service to its 186,000 Colorado customers.
Over the past year, Black Hills Energy embarked on a comprehensive review of the various policies and services of the utility systems that were acquired by the company over the years to determine the best practices that should be adopted for the benefit of all Colorado gas customers. Additionally, with this filing the company is proposing to consolidate its three existing base rate areas, and consolidate its seven existing Gas Cost Adjustment (GCA) areas into three GCA regions. These efforts will streamline the customer experience, as Black Hills Energy delivers the consistent and efficient experience that our customers count on.
Year over year, Black Hills Energy consistently invests in replacing, upgrading and maintaining the more than 6,800 miles of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines in Colorado -- critical infrastructure required to meet system growth needs and ensure the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to customers' homes and businesses. These investments have improved safety and reliability by replacing aging infrastructure, while meeting compliance requirements of state and federal regulations. Additionally, these investments support the local economy, people and businesses of the communities served.
"Black Hills Energy is committed to being the energy partner of choice for our Colorado communities and customers -- a commitment we've demonstrated through investments in our infrastructure and in our communities," said Susan Bailey, vice president of natural gas operations for Black Hills Energy in Colorado. "By aligning our policies and services across all of Colorado, we will be able to provide an even higher level of service and reliability to our natural gas customers."
As proposed, some residential customer bills will decrease, while others will increase slightly, as various rates are consolidated. 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 the natural gas delivered by Black Hills Energy. 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," Bailey said.
If approved, the new natural gas service delivery rates would take effect late 2019 for Black Hills' natural gas customers in over 100 Colorado communities.
Customers who would like information about saving energy, or bill payment assistance, should call Black Hills Energy at 888-890-5554 or visit www.bhesavemoney.com.