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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 15, 2019                             
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201 or (605) 280-4327

South Dakota PUC votes to approve refunds for MidAmerican Energy Co. customers

PIERRE, S.D. – MidAmerican Energy Co. customers will receive a refund and rate reduction as the result of action by the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission at their regular meeting in Pierre on May 14. The approved settlement agreement, presented jointly by PUC staff and MidAmerican Energy, specifies the company will refund $3,308,988 to its South Dakota natural gas customers and $921,476 to its South Dakota electric customers.

Additionally, the commission approved reductions to MidAmerican Energy’s base rates. Natural gas rates will be reduced by $1,205,376 while electric rates will see a $359,811 reduction. The settlement also includes a revision to the energy cost adjustment related to the company’s production tax credits in consideration of the reduced federal income tax rate.

Approval of MidAmerican Energy Co.’s refund represents the latest action in the commission’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act investigation. To date, the commission has approved $28.8 million in refunds for South Dakota’s investor-owned electric and natural gas customers along with an additional $10.5 million in ongoing annual base rate reductions for electric and natural gas customers served by Black Hills Energy, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. and MidAmerican Energy.

PUC Chairman Gary Hanson highlighted the success of the commission’s investigation into the effect of federal tax cuts. “These have been great dockets,” he stated. “We’re providing another $10 million for consumers and families in our state every year.”

PUC Vice Chairman Chris Nelson commented on the unique refund method agreed upon by MidAmerican Energy and PUC staff. “This refund procedure is a little different from the one-time refund we’ve done in the past. Through this settlement, there will be refund amounts credited to customer bills for each of six months beginning in July, allowing customers to begin seeing their refund sooner than other methodologies would have allowed,” he said.

Commissioner Kristie Fiegen acknowledged the many months PUC staff has spent working with the investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities. “I want to thank the staff for all of their work on this. It started in December of 2017 and I believe this is the icing on the cake,” Fiegen stated. “Staff’s done a phenomenal job of sending back over $28 million in refunds and decreasing rates for three companies by over $10 million annually. I appreciate your hard work and dedication to South Dakota consumers,” she said.

In December 2017, PUC staff requested the commission open a docket to investigate the effects the federal tax cut would have on rates paid by customers of regulated electric and natural gas utilities. The commission voted to proceed with the investigation and ordered any adjustment made to rates as a result of the tax cut be effective on Jan. 1, 2018. Since then, the PUC has approved refunds to customers of Xcel Energy, Black Hills Energy, NorthWestern Energy, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. and MidAmerican Energy Co. The effect of the federal tax act on Otter Tail Power Co. customers was addressed in a rate settlement agreement accepted by the commission in March.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act docket can be viewed on the PUC’s website at, Commission Actions, Commission Dockets, Gas and Electric Dockets, 2017 Gas and Electric Dockets, GE17-003 – In the Matter of Staff’s Request to Investigate the Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on South Dakota Utilities.