RAPID CITY, SD (KOTA) – Black Hills Energy has sent a request to the South Dakota Utilities Board to change the rates paid by customers who also generate some of their own electricity.

Black Hills Energy says it’s to make sure its electricity rates are fair and reasonable for all of its customers.

Right now, Black Hills Energy says community residents who use metered generation like solar and wind power systems “are not paying their fair share of the fixed costs to use the power grid.”

The company claims that the small group of people using this type of energy see their fixed costs, used for the construction, maintenance and operation of the electricity grid, subsidized by other people in the community.

The company said in a statement: “The proposed amendment would allow customers installing a new generation to be fairly paid for the energy they produce while covering their share of system costs, keeping energy prices low for all the clients.”

But Lee DeLange, COO of GenPro Solutions, says it will have an impact on those who want to use these types of energy.

DeLange ran the numbers on a typical residential house in the Black Hills and he says it shows people are saving nearly $ 900 a year by using solar power. He says if this new tariff goes into effect, the savings would be reduced to $ 70.

“The financial implications for anyone who wants to invest in renewables are pretty significant and we’re very worried about what that will do to the Black Hills,” says DeLange.

DeLange says it would deter people from switching to alternative energy because the financial incentive will no longer be there.

Black Hills Energy says it would not discourage renewable energy production and supports the expansion of renewable energy in the region.

There is a grandfather clause for those in the program now, where they will not be affected until May 31, 2041.

The amendment has not yet been adopted and is still in its early stages.

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