PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The 104,000 South Dakota customers who buy natural gas from MidAmerican Energy have been paying about 6% more since mid-November to have it distributed to them.
That’s when MidAmerican raised natural-gas distribution rates on an interim basis while state regulators considered how much more revenue the company should be allowed to collect from customers.
Now a settlement has been reached that would bring down those interim rates somewhat. They would still be higher.
Customers also would see small refunds from what had already been collected.
The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to decide on Tuesday whether to approve the settlement and refund plan.
Affected would be customers in Alcester, Baltic, Brandon, Canton, Centerville, Colton, Corson, Dell Rapids, Elk Point, Ellis, Flandreau, Gayville, Harrisburg, Hartford, Jefferson, Lennox, McCook Lake, Meckling, Montrose, North Sioux City, Ramona, Salem, Sioux Falls, Tea, Valley Springs, Vermillion, and Worthing.
MidAmerican’s had previously raised natural-gas distribution rates in 2014. Since then, the company’s total plant has increased by $108.1 million to $255.1 million at the end of 2021, primarily to serve growing areas, according to a letter from MidAmerican attorney Katelyn Lynch-Butcher.
The settlement calls for MidAmerican to not seek an increase in base rates that would take effect prior to November 1, 2025, “absent occurrence of ‘extraordinary’ events beyond MidAmerican’s control,” according to a PUC staff filing agreeing to the settlement.