WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The historic cold outbreak last February is going to cost you more money.
On Wednesday, Black Hills Energy announced it reached a settlement agreement for its plan to recover costs from the outbreak. During the cold, some areas did not make it out of single-digit temperatures. The company said it incurred significant costs to get enough natural gas for customers to heat their homes. Incremental costs were the result of extraordinary demand above and beyond the company’s commission-approved procurement.
The settlement agreement with Kansas Corporation Commission staff and Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board includes recovery over a five-year period for $87.9 million of incremental fuel costs incurred to serve extraordinary demand and carrying costs associated with financing the costs to reduce the impact on customers’ bills.
The agreement is pending a final hearing and approval by KCC. While the recovery of natural gas costs typically occurs over 12 months, Black Hills Energy has proposed spreading it over the next five years to reduce the impact on customer bills. As proposed in the agreement, a residential customer will see an average increase of $11.47 each month based on their usage moving forward.
“We are pleased to reach a constructive agreement for recovery of costs we incurred to keep our customers warm and safe when they needed us the most,” said Jerry Watkins, Kansas general manager for Black Hills Energy.
Black Hills Energy has 117,000 customers across 66 communities in Kansas.
Black Hills encourages customers who are struggling to pay their bills to reach out to their customer service team to inquire about energy assistance funding, such as the Kansas Low Income Energy Assistance Program and Black Hills Cares and Budget Billing.