Arkansas Public Service Commission approves Black Hills Energy rate change

Fayetteville, Ark. (Oct. 9, 2018) – Black Hills Energy today announced that the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) approved a general rate increase to recover safety, reliability and system integrity investments for natural gas service for its more than 169,000 customers in Arkansas. The approved rates include an $8.2 million refund resulting from federal tax reform.

Since 2016, Black Hills Energy has invested more than $160 million in replacing, upgrading and maintaining more than 5,500 miles of natural gas pipelines in Arkansas–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 the compliance requirements of state and federal regulations.

“Our customers expect safe, reliable and affordable natural gas service in our growing system. To meet those expectations, we have invested, and will continue to invest, in our infrastructure, which features a robust pipeline safety program,”

“Our customers expect safe, reliable and affordable natural gas service in our growing system. To meet those expectations, we have invested, and will continue to invest, in our infrastructure, which features a robust pipeline safety program,” said Todd Jacobs, vice president of natural gas operations for Black Hills Energy in Arkansas.  “This change in our service rates enables us to continue our investments in people and infrastructure, and allows us to meet the needs of our thriving Arkansas communities.”

As approved, the typical residential customer bill would increase by $3.55 per month, based on an average monthly usage of 49 Ccf (hundred cubic feet).  A customer with monthly usage of 25 Ccf would see an increase of $2.17 per month, and a customer with usage of 100 Ccf would see an increase of $6.43 per month.  The increase for commercial customers will vary, based on rate class and usage.

Over the winter heating season, this increase will be largely offset by a refund customers will receive resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  The commission approved the company’s request to refund $8.2 million of tax reform benefits accumulated from Jan. 1 through Oct. 15, 2018, to utility customers through a monthly credit to their bills beginning in mid-October and continuing through May 2019. A typical residential customer will receive a monthly refund of about $4.64 per month ending in the middle of May 2019.  For periods after October 15, 2018, the benefits of the reduced federal income tax rate will be included in customer rates. Those benefits will total approximately $1.5 million for the period October 15 to December 31, 2018 and approximately $6.2 million per year thereafter.  

“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the amount of corporate income taxes our company pays and we are passing those savings along to our customers,”

“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the amount of corporate income taxes our company pays and we are passing those savings along to our customers,” said Todd Jacobs, vice president of Arkansas natural gas operations. “Working through the financial impacts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been a complex process, we appreciate the APSC working with us to provide the benefits of the change in corporate tax rates to our customers.”

The new rates, inclusive of customer benefits related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, will take effect October 15, 2018 for Black Hills Energy’s more than 169,000 natural gas customers in 104 Arkansas communities, including Bentonville, Blytheville, Fayetteville, Harrison, Ozark, Rogers and Springdale.

Customers who would like information about saving energy, or bill payment assistance, should call Black Hills Energy at 888-890-5554 or visit www.blackhillsenergy.com/save-money-energy.

For more information about this rate review, please visit www.blackhillsenergy.com/reliableAR .

Source: Black Hills Energy