Black Hills Energy looks to amend tariff on renewable energy to ensure electric rates are fair and reasonable

GenPro Solutions solar panels at company.
GenPro Solutions solar panels at company.(Connor Matteson)
Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 4:41 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Black Hills Energy has sent in an application to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission to amend the tariffs it’s paid by customers who also generate some of their own power.

Black Hills Energy says that’s to ensure their electric rates are fair and reasonable across their customer base.

Right now, Black Hills Energy says people in the community who use behind-the-meter generation like solar and wind energy systems are “not paying their fair share of the fixed costs to use the energy grid.”

The company says that the small group of people using this type of energy are having their fixed costs, used for building, maintaining, and operating the power grid, subsidized by the other people in the community.

The company said in a statement, “The proposed amendment would allow customers installing new generation going forward to be equitably paid for the energy they produce while covering their share of system costs, keeping energy rates low for all customers.”

But Lee DeLange who is the Chief Operating Officer at GenPro Solutions says this will impact those who want to use these types of energy.

DeLange ran the numbers on a typical residential home in the Black Hills and he says it shows that people are saving close to $900 a year by using solar energy. He says if this new tariff would go into effect, that savings would be cut to $70.

”The financial implications for anyone who desires to invest in renewable energy is pretty far-reaching and we’re very concerned what this will do to the Black Hills,” says DeLange.

DeLange says it would deter people from moving to alternative energy because the financial incentive will no longer be there.

Black Hills Energy says it would not discourage renewable energy generation and says they support the expansion of renewable energy in the region.

There is a grandfather clause for those who are in the program now, where they won’t be affected until May 31st of 2041.

The amendment hasn’t passed yet and is only in the beginning stages.

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