An Iowa Utilities Board ruling on a request for a rate increase from Black Hills Energy could eventually impact all gas companies in the state. Utilities Board spokesman, Rob Hillesland, says the board turned down the increase because of a “tracker” featured included in the request.
Hillesland says it’s called an “automatic adjustment tracker” and he says since it was part of the settlement agreement, the board rejected the whole agreement and the temporary increase for gas rates will continue. Hillesland says the tracker would provide and automatic increase for infrastructure.
He says it could be repair or replacement of natural gas pipes and also include other costs. But he says it’s something the board wanted a closer look at before including a tracker in the settlement. Hillesland says the board has a mechanism for dealing with such trackers for electricity, but has not been able to get together with the gas companies to create one.
Hillesland says the board does plan to look again at making a rule that would let them decide whether or not a requested tracker feature was justified. Hillesland says they would look at the process of trackers for all gas companies that come before the board for a rate increase. The rejection of the settlement leaves the temporary 1.6% rate increase in effect for Black Hills customers. Hillesland says the board will issue a written order in the next few weeks with details about extending the Black Hills rate case to give them and others time to deal with the issue of trackers.
Black Hills serves around 149,000 customers in Iowa.