Archive for Friday, August 20, 2010

Black Hills withdraws rate increase request

August 20, 2010


Black Hills Energy wants to withdraw a plan that would increase customers’ heating bills in return for providing energy efficiency programs.

The utility company submitted the plan to the Kansas Corporation Commission in March and the KCC was scheduled to hold a hearing on the application in September.

The request to withdraw comes after the KCC staff and the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board gave unfavorable written testimony on the plan last month.

Black Hills is the second gas company in the state to submit an energy efficiency plan and then withdraw it. The other is Kansas Gas Service, which serves communities from Overland Park to Wichita.

“We need time to further assess the KCC staff, CURB and our customers’ sentiment toward energy efficiency plans in Kansas,” Black Hills spokesman Curt Floerchinger said. “We want to pursue some additional education opportunities and get some input on how a plan could be implemented.”

David Springe, consumer counsel for CURB, said he was surprised, but happy to see Black Hills withdraw its application.

“We didn’t like what they had proposed. It was very expensive and only benefited a few customers,” Springe said.

In July, Lawrence customers had the chance to comment on the proposal, which would have covered the cost of home energy audits, given rebates for energy-efficient appliances and provided incentives for builders to construct green homes.

Those programs came with a $12.5 million price tag. To cover that cost, the average residential customer would have had to pay $13 a year. Those who didn’t participate in the program could have seen their bills go up by as much as $26.

Besides the increase in rates, Black Hills had asked for other changes to its pricing structure.

The utility had wanted revenue decoupling, which would have required the KCC to set how much revenue the utility could generate and then have the utility collect that set amount from consumers.

The company also asked to be able to share in the savings generated by the energy efficiency programs.

In its testimony, KCC staff and CURB recommended that many of the utility’s proposed energy efficiency programs be modified or rejected.

The KCC staff also advised Black Hills to delay its request to decouple revenues until the utility’s next rate case and objected to Black Hills sharing in the savings from energy efficiency programs.

Black Hills will likely bring forward another plan during its next rate case, Floerchinger said.


igby 7 years, 10 months ago

We should just get rid of black hills all together and all go electric/solar/geo-thermal. For every cubit foot of gas they sell in Kansas, the industry releases 100,000 cubic feet of gas into the atmosphere that adds to global warming and hydrocarbon pollution. They are venting oil wells all over the state in the open air with no one watching. Their the biggest polluters even bigger the the coal industry. Thousands upon thousands of oi wells are being vented into the open air each day. They dump this gas into the air and it is carried in the wind and kills trees, grasses and deposits salts everywhere.

Evan Ridenour 7 years, 10 months ago

I don't think you even understand how electric grids operate.

There are large plants that produce the backbone of the energy required (such as coal and nuclear) and the output of these plants is not variable. To make up for the difference you need other sources that can be stepped up or brought on line quickly so the entire grid doesn't fail (such as gas).

Neither of the suggestions you raised can accomplish either providing a baseline for the grid or the energy for varied loads.

There are many reasons why just replacing coal and gas with solar, wind, geo-thermal, or whatever asinine "eco" power idea out there won't work. Some of the simple ones are: - You need good sources for geo-thermal energy, something that this nation does not have. This nation also consumes way too much power for that energy source to be useful. Even Iceland, a nation with super plentiful access to geo-thermal energy sources is using too much energy to rely on it completely. It is also super expensive... - Solar is unreliable and does not produce much power. As discussed above the grid requires large plants to provide a baseline of energy, solar could be used to provide an addition to that generated by coal but only a very small addition since it provides little power... is expensive... and unreliable. Whatever capacity was given to solar there would have to be gas capacity for when solar didn't produce enough for the demand. Solar fails on all counts. - Wind is the same as solar.

If you don't want to burn coal do us a favor and unplug the computer you are using to type with, the TV you are probably watching right now, the stove you cook with, the washing machine you wash your clothes with, throw away and stop buying every single type of manufactured good, turn of the AC you cool yourself with... get the point?

The conveniences we all use require electricity and the generation of that electricity requires energy... a lot of energy. If you want to stop using coal and gas you better be prepared to sacrifice every single modern convenience you have because until someone invents cold fusion or comes up with some ingenious way to reliably store large amounts of energy generated by unreliable production sources such as solar and wind power (along with vastly increasing the efficiency of such methods) that is the only way to get your wish.

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