The Iowa Utilities Board holds the first of three public comment meetings tonight in Newton on the proposed natural gas rate increase request of Black Hills Energy. Utilities Board spokesman, Rob Hillesland says Black Hills serves around 149-thousand customers in Iowa.
Hillesland says the company is seeking a permanent annual rate increase of 2.9% percent, which would generate around $4.7-million in annual revenue. Hillesland says the public comments are used by the board in determining whether they should approve the increase.
“We want people to know that their opinions, be it via written comments or verbal comments made at these comment meetings are very important to the board, and it is a very important part of the rate-making process,” Hillesland says. Black Hills was granted a temporary rate increase of 1.6% until the board reaches its decision.
Hillesland says the temporary rate is subject to refund with interest if the board approves a rate that’s less than the temporary increase, customers would get a refund with interest. The other two comment meetings are set for June 30th in Dubuque and July 1st in Council Bluffs. Hillesland says the final decision on the rate increase would likely come in April.
For more information on the rate request, or to find out how to submit written comments, visit the Iowa Utilities Board website at: www.state.ia.us/iub.