Black Hills Wyoming Gas, doing business as Black Hills Energy, filed a rate review application with the Wyoming Public Service Commission (WPSC) seeking an increase in base rates of $19.3 million to recover the necessary capital infrastructure and operational costs required to enable safe, reliable natural gas service for customers in Wyoming.
If approved as proposed, new rates would be implemented during the first quarter of 2024 with residential customers with an average usage seeing an increase of approximately $6.74 per month and small general customers with an average usage seeing an increase of approximately $13.70 per month.
Black Hills Energy spends millions of dollars each year to safely operate, maintain and update more than 6,400 miles of natural gas system infrastructure, which provides critical and reliable energy to over 133,000 households and businesses in 56 communities across the state.
Since its last rate review in 2019, the company completed more than $140 million in system safety, integrity and reliability projects for its natural gas utility system in Wyoming. These critical projects were required to support the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas and transportation services and meet
compliance requirements of state and federal regulations.
In this filing, the company is also requesting approval to extend the Wyoming Integrity Rider (WIR) which was approved by the WPSC in 2019 and expires in 2023. The WIR supports ongoing infrastructure replacement projects and gas meter and yard line replacement projects driven by federal regulations.
For example, from 2020 through 2022, the company has undertaken more than 40 integrity projects and more than 1,800 meter replacements in Wyoming cities, including Cody, Rawlins, Laramie, Casper,
Wheatland, Riverton and Cheyenne.
“We take very seriously our responsibility to keep our customers safe and warm by providing reliable energy when our customers need it,” said Dustin McKen, Black Hills Energy’s director of Wyoming operations.
“It’s therefore our responsibility to consistently and prudently make critical investments on behalf of our customers to support the safety and reliability of our natural gas system. We recognize the impact these investments can have on customer bills so we are very diligent in our planning.”