KCC approves five-year payment plan for Black Hills customers
Joe Denoyer - January 27, 2022 11:46 am
TOPEKA – The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) has approved a settlement agreement outlining how Black Hills Energy will recover $87.9 million in deferred natural gas costs related to the February 2021 winter weather event. The utility, like others regulated by the KCC, was ordered to do everything possible to continue providing natural gas service to its customers, defer the charges, and then develop a plan to allow customers to pay the unusually high costs over time to minimize the financial impact.
Under the settlement approved today, customer costs will be spread out over a five-year period beginning next month through January 31, 2027. On average, residential customers will see an increase on their monthly bills of $11.47 during this period. The charge will appear as a separate line item on the bill titled “Storm Uri Gas Charge”.
Today’s order acknowledges that while no customer welcomes bill increases, the five-year repayment period provides some relief to ratepayers. If customers had been required to pay the winter costs over a one-year period, it would have resulted in average residential increases of $53.51 per month.
The Company will true-up actual cost recoveries to expected recoveries for periods ending January 31 of each year the rate is in effect. Any difference noted will be included as a charge or credit for the next twelve months. Additionally, any recovery of costs through federal or state investigations into price gouging, market manipulation or civil suit resulting from the weather event will be passed on to customers.
This is the third winter weather payment plan approved by the Commission. KCC staff is currently evaluating plans submitted by Southern Pioneer, Evergy. Atmos, and Kansas Gas Service. Empire has not yet filed a plan.