The only enjoyable time opening the mailbox is around the Christmas holiday. Greetings from family and friends. On any other given day, our grrrrrr comes out after finding the latest bills and rate increases. Well, get ready for another.

MidAmerican Energy Company is sticking it to us again! In a release from the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, MidAmerican Energy Co. was granted approval for a settlement stipulation to increase rates for natural gas service to customers in its South Dakota retail service territory.

Does it seem we just saw a rate increase recently? Or was that the electricity rate?

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The release states this will be MidAmerican’s first base rate increase in eight years. The company attributed the increase to a major effort in replacing an aging system and expanding infrastructure to serve growth in southeastern South Dakota, as well as inflation.

HOW MUCH IS YOUR GAS BILL INCREASING?

Based on your current base rate, customers will see an approximate 5.4% increase in the average total bill.

PUC Commissioner Chris Nelson acknowledged the various factors in an average natural gas bill.

“I want customers to clearly understand this increase,” Nelson said. “There are two portions to your natural gas bill. About 70% of your bill is for the actual gas itself. That is all market driven. The other part, about 30% of your bill, is for the distribution. That is regulated by the PUC and that’s exactly what we are dealing with. By law, your utility company is allowed to recover some of those costs. In this rate case, the company asked for a little over $7 million. Over the last year, PUC staff has very, very diligently picked through every one of their expenditures and has pared that down to the absolute minimum. Now, we’re looking at a 20.1% increase in the portion we regulate. That’s a large number for the distribution portion of the bill, but it’s what is required by law so we are required to approve this particular settlement,” Nelson explained.

It was further pointed out that MidAmerican Energy Co. will be held to a three-year rate moratorium that will prevent them from filing for an increase to base rates that would go into effect prior to Nov. 1, 2025.

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