Transition problems inherent is shifting Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power utility operations from Xcel Energy to Black Hills Corp. have now been resolved, the Wyoming Public Service Commission indicated last Tuesday in accepting a report resulting from a three-month commission investigation. Problems developed after the sale was completed last January, but concerns about utility billing practices and other issues have now been put to rest, the PSC reported indicated.

PSC Commission member Cindy Lewis noted that “progress” has been made since the sale seemed to unsettle Cheyenne Light’s “good reputation with customers” for awhile. “It’s reassuring to see that customers are receiving the kind of customer service they have deserved throughout, and the acquisition by Black Hills has been a positive thing,” she said as part of a report by the Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.

After the sale to Black Hills, the PSC report noted that several thousand customers’ natural gas bills were not recorded, prompting estimated bills to be sent out in the middle of winter. Other billing problems cropped up in which incorrect franchise fee charges and other fees were assessed to customers in Cheyenne.

Black Hills presented a plan to the PSC on how it intended to address the problems shortly before the regulatory commission ordered its three-month probe. The PSC eventually appointed a customer service advisory group to oversee the company’s efforts.

Black Hills Vice President Stuart Wevik admitted that the Cheyenne Light customers had what he called “a difficult time” over the past nine to 12 months, noting the utility recognized that. “They deserve better, and they are getting better,” he said in the Knight Ridder report.

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