Polar Vortex

We’re paying for the problems in Texas!

The 2021 Polar Vortex was a significant event in Texas, and people suffered horribly. It wasn’t the first polar vortex to hit Texas, and probably won’t be the last. Thanks to the efforts of the Black Hills teams, we never lost natural gas service, but Black Hills paid 50 – 100 times the normal wholesale cost for gas. Because Black Hills’ rates are regulated in Iowa, they applied to the Iowa Utilities Board to recover those unusual costs ($95.45 million) saying that they were “… required to spend as much for gas supplies during the seven-day February 2021 Polar Vortex period as it normally spends on gas costs over an entire year.”

Black Hills asked to recover that amount plus interest ($103.4 million) over a period of three years, which Black Hills estimates will increase the average residential bill by 23% over the recovery period. That would be about $154 per year, or a total of $462 over three years. If approved, that’s what the average Iowa natural gas customer will pay because Texas has a highly de-regulated utility environment that doesn’t provide the proper incentives to prepare for bad weather.

Don’t want to spend $462 extra? Energy efficiency can help reduce that. Green Iowa Americorps is now doing in-house evaluations for fully vaccinated households. Get more information at https://energydistrict.org/services/