FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, September 4, 2014
Steve and Lynn Hammond, Dakota Rural Action members with home solar system: (605)484-4410
Sabrina King, Dakota Rural Action Organizer: (605)939-0527
BLACK HILLS POWER USING RATE INCREASE TO STOP SMALL-SCALE SOLAR
Rate design will effectively kill solar industry in Black Hills Power electric territory
Rapid City, SD – Black Hills Power, an investor-owned utility which provides power to residents in western South Dakota, is using its most recent rate increase request to put the brakes on growing interest in independent electricity production, particularly small-scale residential solar electric systems.
The company is requesting approval from the Public Utilities Commission for a 10 percent increase in electric rates. But hidden in the request is a change in how they deal with customers who choose to generate their own electricity. If approved, customers in Black Hills Power’s service territory who put up an electric generating system like solar or small wind will be required to pay the “Residential Demand Service” rate. This rate will result in an additional $5 to $20 beyond what a non-generating customer pays. These costs will make investing in small-scale electricity production nearly impossible for residents, hurting local solar businesses and solidifying Black Hills Power’s monopoly in the region.
“Putting in a Residential Demand Service charge is really a hidden fee or penalty charge on solar energy and is the wrong thing to do,” says Steve Hammond, Dakota Rural Action member and owner of a solar electric system. “Solar energy saves our fossil fuels for future generations and solar energy will reduce everyone’s electric bill.”
Dakota Rural Action has intervened in the Black Hills Power rate case and will defend local energy production and the right of citizens and small businesses to invest in, generate, and sell electricity in western South Dakota.
Dakota Rural Action is a grassroots family agriculture and conservation group that organizes South Dakotans to protect our family farmers and ranchers, natural resources, and unique way of life.www.dakotarural.org