WEST DES MOINES, Iowa, Feb. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Black Hills Energy, a subsidiary of Black Hills Corp. (NYSE: BKH), today announced that final rates for natural gas customers have been approved by the Iowa Utilities Board based on a modified unanimous settlement agreement filed Jan. 11, 2011. The utility originally filed June 8, 2010, requesting a $4.7 million or 2.9 percent increase in annual revenues and the IUB approved a general increase of $3.4 million or 2.1 percent, and recovery of rate case expenses. The approved increase for natural gas customers is effective Feb. 10, 2011.
"Since 2008, we have invested approximately $17.2 million in our Iowa communities to replace pipe and other equipment that has reached the end of its useful life so our natural gas distribution system remains safe, reliable and efficient," said Tracy Peterson, Black Hills Energy vice president of Iowa Gas operations. "The approved rates allow for recovery of operating costs and a return on the infrastructure investments we have made to ensure our natural gas customers continue to receive dependable service."
The final average monthly increases approved by the IUB - approximately $1.80 for residential customers and $1.50 for commercial customers - will result in only slight changes to customer bills because customers have been paying nearly these amounts on an interim basis since June, when the case was filed. A customer's total bill will vary based on how much natural gas is used and the price of natural gas.
"We are proud to reinvest in our Iowa communities, many of which are rural, and to provide customers with safe, reliable natural gas service. Black Hills Energy also offers many programs and services to help customers manage their natural gas bills and control energy use," continued Peterson.
For the typical Iowa residential customer, approximately 65 percent to 75 percent of the monthly bill accounts for the cost of the natural gas commodity and is a pass-through cost Black Hills Energy pays to its natural gas suppliers. The utility does not earn a profit on the natural gas commodity and therefore it was not part of this rate case.
Black Hills Energy encourages customers to visit www.blackhillsenergy.com to learn about energy saving tips, energy efficiency programs and incentives available to the utility's Iowa residential and non-residential customers, and ways to manage their natural gas bills.
Black Hills/Iowa Gas Utility Company, LLC d/b/a Black Hills Energy
Black Hills Energy serves 149,700 natural gas customers in 130 Iowa communities and is a recipient of the U.S. EPA 2010 ENERGY STAR® Leadership in Housing Award. Black Hills Energy is a subsidiary of Black Hills Corp. (NYSE: BKH).
Black Hills Corporation
Black Hills Corp. - a diversified energy company with a tradition of exemplary service and a vision to be the energy partner of choice - is based in Rapid City, S.D., with corporate offices in Denver and Omaha, Neb. The company serves 763,300 natural gas and electric utility customers in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. The company's non-regulated businesses generate wholesale electricity, produce natural gas, oil and coal, and market energy. Black Hills' 2,200 employees partner to produce results that improve life with energy. More information is available at www.blackhillscorp.com.
SOURCE Black Hills Corp.