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Black Hills rates to go up next week in Nebraska

Black Hills rates to go up next week in Nebraska

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Black Hills pipe

Gas pipe sits along the south side of O Street east of 84th Street in September 2019 waiting to be installed as part of a Black Hills Energy pipeline replacement project. Black Hills has applied to raise its rates, and an interim rate increase will go into effect next week while the Public Service Commission considers the request for a permanent increase.

Black Hills Energy's natural gas rate increase will go into effect next week on an interim basis.

The South Dakota-based company filed an application with the Nebraska Public Service Commission on June 1. The utility, which serves more than 300,000 customers in Nebraska in more than 300 cities and towns, has not sought a regular rate increase since 2010, although it did institute small increases in 2013 and 2015 to pay for pipeline replacement costs.

Overall, Black Hills is seeking about $17.5 million more annually, according to the PSC. The company has said the rate increase would vary based on type of customer and usage, but the average residential customer would see an increase of $4.46 a month, or about $53.50 a year.

The PSC has not yet approved the increase, but state law allows companies to institute an interim rate increase during review of an application. The interim rate increase will go into effect Tuesday.

The PSC will hold its first public hearing on the proposed rate increase Oct. 26. It has until the end of January to rule on the application, and if it approves a final rate that is lower than the interim rate, Black Hills must refund the difference to customers.

To give the public a chance to learn more about the proposed increase and ask questions, the PSC plans to hold two virtual town hall meetings, on Sept. 22 and 24.

A schedule for the town hall meetings and information on participating can be found at psc.nebraska.gov/natural-gas/town-hall-information.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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