Thousands of residents of KOTA Territory felt the effects of October's winter storm. And very soon, many of us could be paying even more for the clean–up.
Last week, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) agreed to allow Black Hills Power to create a "regulatory asset" as a book-keeping measure to allow the company to recoup an estimated five to six million dollars in storm related costs to restore and maintain power to the more than 28,000 homes that lost electricity.
To do that, Black Hills Power Utilities Strategy Director Mike Theis says the company will formally file for a slight rate increase at a yet to be determined date.
According to the South Dakota PUC, it would take at least six months once a decision is made on that filing before customers would see the increase on their bill.
Although grateful, Black Hills Power customers are split on whether they feel what is being proposed is fair.
Dave Torgenrud of Rapid City says he is in favor of the increase, "I just think the power company should get an increase every once in awhile, especially when they have to go through an awful lot of trouble to help the people get the power they need."
Gary Loudner of Rapid City opposes the increase. "They should absorb those costs. There are people in this community that are struggling and hurting and I don't think that's appropriate at this time."
As part of that potential increase, the commission will also be considering the costs Black Hills Power will incur associated with the closing of three of its coal fired plants due to more stringent EPA regulations.