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CONTACT: Leah Mohr, deputy executive director, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201 or (605) 280-4327

PUC accepts MidAmerican Energy proposal to offer service to farm tap customers

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission today accepted a proposal by MidAmerican Energy Co. to provide services to farm tap customers connected to an interstate pipeline owned by Northern Natural Gas Co.

The farm tap customers, located in eastern South Dakota, currently receive services from NorthWestern Energy as a result of a contractual arrangement between Northern Natural Gas and NorthWestern Energy that will expire on Dec. 31, 2017. Since November 2016, PUC staff attempted to facilitate discussions between Northern Natural Gas and NorthWestern Energy in an effort to ensure that service is maintained to affected farm tap customers without causing a detrimental impact to NorthWestern Energy’s other customers.

PUC staff recently reached out to MidAmerican Energy to discuss the farm taps matter and MidAmerican notified the commission in July of its intent to update their tariff to allow service to the affected farm tap customers. At its regular meeting in Pierre on Aug. 15, the commission voted to accept the terms and rates for MidAmerican Energy to serve the farm tap customers. The company will begin a customer awareness campaign, to include open houses and ongoing information to farm tap customers, with implementation of the service to begin on Jan. 1, 2018.

At the Aug. 15 meeting, commissioners, PUC staff and MidAmerican Energy representatives discussed the proposal. Farm tap customers will receive services from MidAmerican Energy that are very similar to those currently provided by NorthWestern Energy. MidAmerican Energy will provide emergency services, check and fill odorizers, schedule gas deliveries and bill customers. Before providing service, MidAmerican Energy will inspect customer-owned gas lines, generally from the farm tap to the point of gas usage. If a customer’s farm tap service line does not meet the safety requirements, the customer will be required to upgrade the line in order to receive service from MidAmerican. Farm tap customers receiving service from MidAmerican Energy will experience an increase over current rates that will be phased-in over a 10-year period.

PUC Chairperson Kristie Fiegen acknowledged the efforts of PUC staff and MidAmerican Energy. “I am grateful for the amount of time, energy, creativity and dedication that have brought us to this point,” Fiegen said. “MidAmerican, along with guidance from the PUC staff, has stepped up to the plate to ensure South Dakota consumers will have the opportunity to continue to receive a critical service.”

For additional information, see the “Farm Taps FAQ” accessible from the PUC’s website,