Black Hills Energy to jump rates following greenlight from Arkansas regulators

Published on October 17, 2022 by Chris Galford

© Shutterstock

Average residential customer bills are likely to increase approximately 4.6 percent this month – or $4 – for Arkansas residents dependent on Black Hills Energy after the Arkansas Public Service Commission approved the company’s request for a general rate increase last week.

First filed for in December 2021, the rates went into effect immediately for this month and will vary based on individual rate class and usage. Black Hills stated that this increase would help the company recover key pipeline safety, reliability, and integrity investments and mark its first base rate increase request since 2017. Since then, it pointed to more than $220 million of infrastructure investments for its natural gas system as proof positive for the necessity of an increase.

“Our priority is delivering the safe, reliable energy that our customers depend on,” Chad Kinsley, vice president of operations at Black Hills Energy, said. “We are committed to supporting the growth in the Arkansas communities we serve while prudently managing costs associated with operating a safe and sustainable natural gas system.”

Though bills will go up due to the rate change, there will be at least some small relief from immediate impact. Black Hills Energy noted that it would tap into the Arkansas corporate income tax rate reduction to return more than $3 million to its customers between Nov. 1, 2022, and April 30, 2023. The company supplies natural gas to more than 180,000 homes and businesses.