Rapid City, SD-based Black Hills Corp. announced late last Friday that the Wyoming Public Service Commission (PSC) granted rate increases to its Cheyenne Light, Fuel & Power utility, authorizing hikes of $4.4 million and $6.7 million for natural gas and electric retail rates, respectively. The new rates are effective Jan. 1.

Capital investments approved in the decision will allow the expansion and maintenance of both the gas and electric distribution systems, the company said. This will help the Cheyenne utility take care of continued population and demand growth in its service area. The increase includes authorization for a 10.9% return on equity, with a capital structure established at 54% equity and 46% debt.

Black Hills CEO David Emery said he was pleased by the PSC’s decision and the fact that the new Wygen II plant will become part of Cheyenne Light’s regulated assets. “We believe this power plant will contribute to electric cost stability for our customers in the decades to come.

“In addition, we can continue our ongoing efforts to improve the energy infrastructure in response to the growth taking place in the Cheyenne vicinity. By doing so, we help to assure improved efficiency, reliability and safety of our electric and natural gas delivery systems.”

The new electric rates include putting into its rate base the company’s 90 MW coal-fired Wygen II generation plant that is now in what Black Hills called “the final stages of construction and testing.”

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