Proposed electric rate hike sparks worries in SD

AP News
Posted: Nov 25, 2009 11:29 AM

Some customers of Black Hills Power are expressing concern over a proposed 26.6 percent electric rate hike.

Many spoke out at a public hearing Tuesday held by the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, which will decide on the utility's request.

Black Hills Power's proposal would increase rates about $18 a month for a typical residential electric customer. There are about 64,000 customers in the utility's service territory.

Spearfish Superintendent Dave Peters says a rate hike would increase that school's annual energy bill from about $202,000 to $256,000.

Black Hills Power, a subsidiary of Black Hills Corp., says it needs the increase to continue to provide safe and reliable energy. Spokesman Kyle White says the utility has programs available for customers who struggle with bills.

The utility servees 63,500 customers in 20 communities in western South Dakota, northern Wyoming and southeastern Montana.