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Black Hills Energy

Wyoming Technicians Return Home After Restoring Natural Gas Service in Aspen

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Black Hills Energy technicians have returned to Wyoming from Colorado, after working to fully restore natural gas service to customers in the City of Aspen.

On Sunday, December 27, 3,500 customers lost service following vandalism to Black Hills Energy’s system. Law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, are investigating.

Last Tuesday, local leaders declared a state of emergency in Aspen because of frigid conditions – which created greater urgency for Black Hills Energy technicians, but also created additional challenges as crews worked tirelessly outdoors.

By Wednesday afternoon, contact was made with each customer, and 97 percent of homes and businesses once again had safe and reliable natural gas service.

Of the more than 170 technicians who responded, 18 traveled from Wyoming.

“I’m extremely proud of our team. Technicians volunteered to go to Aspen, as others raised their hands to work holidays – determined to keep service running smoothly at home,” said Mark Stege, vice president of Wyoming operations. “We wanted to make sure everyone was taken care of – our customers down the street, and those in Colorado.”

Additional information about the Aspen outage, and Black Hills Energy’s response is available at: blackhillsenergy.com/aspen/faqs

Please remember the following safety tips:
• If you smell natural gas, leave the building or area immediately. Alert others, too.
• After you’re safe, call 911 and Black Hills Energy’s emergency number at 888-890-5554. Never
assume someone else has reported a natural gas leak.
• Do not turn on lights, ignite a flame, use a cell phone or anything else that might cause a spark,
including a flashlight or generator.
• Never attempt to repair a natural gas leak, and do not attempt to turn natural gas valves on or off.

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Black Hills Energy: Four Tips To Keep Your Gas Fireplace Running Safely And Efficiency All Season Long

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It’s dark and cold outside, but home is where you can find light and warmth. No matter what the day held – deadlines, shopping, shoveling the snow – here, the holiday spirit lives.

Whether you’re curling up at the end of the day to read a good book, finish a puzzle, or watch a holiday movie (we recommend the one with the account executive who returns to her home town and discovers true love), here are some tips to get your gas fireplace warmed up for the season.

Do some reading – We know reading a manual doesn’t sound like fun, but this is 2020 – what else do you have on your calendar? Each gas fireplace, stove or insert is unique, and knowing your specific unit’s operating information will help you keep it running safely and efficiently.

Change the batteries – Install fresh batteries in your gas fireplace receiver to make sure it’s ready as a backup in case you lose power. Now is also a good time to replace your carbon monoxide and smoke detector batteries. If your unit has a remote control, you may as well do that while you’re at it too. You’ll thank us when you don’t have to pause the movie to do it later (because who knows if the big city gal will be able to adapt to small town life and save Christmas!).

Review your safety tips – Always call your gas company if you smell gas. It’s also a good idea to bring in a professional if you notice that the flames are any color other than yellow or orange, or if you notice a lot of soot collecting on the fireplace components. And when you put up the Christmas tree, make sure to keep it at least 3 feet away from the fireplace.

Get an annual inspection and cleaning – Our licensed Service Guard technicians can identify issues like venting cracks or obstructions, corrosion and firebox damage. They can also check and clean the components, so you can get back to snuggling on the couch (make sure you have some tissues because * spoiler alert * she does save Christmas, but not before falling in love with – you guessed it – a local baker).

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Black Hills Energy Raises Nearly $760,000 for United Way

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Black Hills Energy on Thursday announced support of nearly $760,000 from its annual corporate United Way fundraising campaign to support 50 United Way agencies across its service area.

Black Hills Energy and its employees have been fully committed partners with United Way for 76 years.

More than 1,300 employees from all Black Hills Energy electric and gas subsidiaries across Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming supported the campaign, and Black Hills Corporation Foundation, the charitable arm of Black Hills Energy, is adding an additional 25 percent match to supplement employee pledges.

In Wyoming, 157 Black Hills Energy employees pledged $82,532.25, with a Black Hills Energy 25% foundation match totaling $20,633.06. 

The resulting total of $103,165.31 will be donated to United Way agencies across the state in 2021.     

“In this unique year when so many families are impacted by COVID-19, Black Hills Energy’s financial support of 50 United Ways is needed more than ever to address basic needs like food insecurity, shelter and mental health,” Linn Evans, president and chief executive officer, said.

“United Way has a strong connection with local needs and solid processes for supporting the charitable organizations most effective in serving those needs,” he said. “As we continue to navigate the current pandemic, it’s good to know our [donation] dollars are providing truly valuable services to people in need.” 

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Black Hills Energy Warns Customers of Scam Attempts

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Cheyenne, Wyo. – Nov. 12, 2020–Black Hills Energy has received reports from customers of attempted scam calls where the customer is told their bill is delinquent and service will be disconnected.

We urge customers with concerns about the identity of someone claiming to represent the company to call Black Hills Energy at 1-888-890-5554 to verify employment. Calling local law enforcement is also an option.

The scammers are using several telephone numbers and using technology that disguises their number and may even mimic a Black Hills Energy.

They may be calling customers several times hoping someone will answer the phone and may ask for the home address of the customer. 

Cautionary tips:

Don’t give in to a high-pressure call seeking personal information – if someone calls claiming to represent your local utility and they demand immediate payment or personal information, hang up and call the customer service number on your utility bill: 888-890-5554.

To verify whether an employee was dispatched to your location, call your utility using the number on your bill or the company’s website (888-890-5554).

Black Hills Energy employees wear shirts with a Black Hills Energy logo, carry a company-issued photo ID and drive logoed vehicles. Employees will gladly wait outside while you call the company to verify their identity.

Do not provide your Social Security number, credit card numbers or bank account information to anyone during an unsolicited phone call or an unannounced visit.

We realize that due to possible extended periods of isolation, customers may face financial hardships effecting their ability to timely pay their energy bills. Please visit www.blackhillsenergy.com to explore options to assist in those hardships.

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Black Hills Energy Announces Clean Energy Goals For Utility Operations

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Black Hills Energy today announced corporate-wide clean energy goals to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity for its electric and natural gas utility operations over the next 10 to 20 years.

For its electric operations in Wyoming, South Dakota and Colorado, the company has established a goal to reduce GHG emissions intensity by 40% by 2030 and 70% by 2040, based on 2005 baseline levels.

The company’s electric operations have reduced total GHG emissions by 25% since 2005. The company’s Colorado electric utility has achieved an approximate 50% reduction in GHG emissions since 2005 and is on track to reach 80% by 2030.

“Our clean energy goals keep the needs of our customers at the forefront of our decision-making and reflect commitments that are achievable using technology available today,” Mark Stege, Black Hills Energy’s vice president of operations said.

“This ensures reliability and affordability for our customers and affirms our commitment to Wyoming energy, which will continue to play a critical role in our operations. Looking forward, we will continue to embrace new technologies to further reduce emissions and keep customer rates affordable,” he said.

For its natural gas utility operations, the company has committed to achieving a 50% total reduction in GHG emissions intensity by 2035 based on 2005 baseline levels for its natural gas distribution system.

Black Hills Energy has cut GHG emissions intensity from its natural gas utilities by more than 33% since 2005.

Black Hills Energy operates a modern gas system across six states, including Wyoming, with no cast iron pipe since 2014 and nearly 99% of infrastructure comprised of materials with the lowest emissions factors.

Investing in infrastructure safety and the environment are a priority for Black Hills Energy and the company is committed to completing replacement of all remaining unprotected pipe on its system before 2035.

Additional information about the company’s GHG emissions reduction goals and environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies and initiatives are available in Black Hills Energy’s newly published corporate responsibility report at www.blackhillsenergy.com/sustainability.

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Black Hills Energy Spotlights Electric Vehicle Charger Rebates During National Drive Electric Week

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With rebates covering the majority of the cost of a home charger, owning an electric vehicle, or EV, has never been easier.

That’s the message Black Hills Energy is sharing with its customers during National Drive Electric Week, running now through Oct. 3.

“With our Ready EV rebate program, we’re making electric vehicle charging more convenient and more affordable for our customers,” Mark Stege, Black Hills Energy’s Vice President of Operations, said.

“And, with more than 40 different types of electric vehicles on the market today, we know customer demand will keep growing as technology continues to improve and more charging options become available. We are ready to support our customers in this choice,” he said.

Black Hills Energy’s Ready EV electric vehicle charger rebates* are available to both residential and business customers:

$500 rebate for residential customers on a Level 2 charger and installation, covering a majority of the cost of the charger

Up to $2,000 rebate for business customers per Level 2 charging port

Up to $3,000 rebate for government and nonprofit organizations per port

Up to $35,000 rebate for businesses that install fast charging stations for public use (the rebate covers the charger and installation)

*Rebate applies to specific chargers and models.

Learn more about Ready EV charger rebates and the benefits of owning an electric vehicle at www.blackhillsenergy.com/EV.

Black Hills Energy Works To Return Natural Gas Service To The Town Of Hanna Following A Shut Down Due To Wildfire

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HANNA, Wy. – September 6, 2020 Black Hills Energy technicians have started the process of bringing natural gas customers back online following the request of local firefighters to completely shut down the Hanna, Wyoming, system last night.

“The process of bringing customers back on to the system requires several steps,” Bo Secrest, gas operations manager for Black Hills Energy Wyoming, said.

“We must first make sure all gas meters are off, then purge the system so that it’s ready for the reintroduction of the natural gas supply. Finally, our technicians will need to go door-to-door and relight each customer’s gas appliances,” he said.

Black Hills Energy customers can assist us in expediting the relighting efforts by providing access to gas meters and restraining pets who may be on the premises.

Additionally, it is required that someone over 18 years of age be present during the relighting process.

Black Hills Energy is aware that the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for the area, and will work diligently to make sure that all customers are back on the system as quickly as possible.

Our technician’s top priority is to safely return our customers to service.

Black Hills Energy Supports Our Wyoming Neighbors In Need

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Black Hills Energy continues our focus on communities and supporting each other through these uncertain times by making another substantial donation to Energy Share of Wyoming.

“It is our goal to continue to help those who are financially impacted by COVID-19 or energy sector job loss,” said Mark Stege, Vice President of Wyoming Operations. 

“It is our goal to continue to help those who are financially impacted by COVID-19 or energy sector job loss”

If you or someone you know is in need of financial assistance, we are ready to help.  Please visit our payment assistance page for more information.

And, if you are able to contribute to helping families in need, in Wyoming visit blackhillsenergy.com/community/black-hills-cares.

Black Hills Energy will match you donation, dollar for dollar.

Read more ways Black HIlls Energy is helping our communities in need during COVID-19.

Black Hills Energy Recognized 811 Day

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Although August 11 has come and gone, the importance of the date remains.

Every year Black Hills Energy calls out the date (811) to serve as a natural reminder for residents to call 811 at least 2 business days prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked.

With more people at home during pandemic restrictions, and summer a peak time to work on home improvement and construction projects, it’s more important than ever that residents remember to dig safely.

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to One Call of Wyoming, the local one call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Requests can also be made online at www.onecallofwyoming.com

At no cost to you, professional utility locators will arrive at the digging site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with flags, spray paint or both.

Every few minutes, an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first contacting 811. Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, inconvenient outages, and fines.

With more people staying home and relying even more on their utilities to work and communicate, inconvenient outages are important to avoid.

For every digging project, no matter how large or small, call or click 811, it’s free, it’s safe and it’s the law. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree, and laying a patio are just some examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting.

“Our most important responsibility is the safety of our customers, employees and the communities we serve, and that includes safe digging any time of year,” said Mark Stege, Vice President of Wyoming Operations.

“On August 11 and throughout the year, we remind homeowners and professional contractors alike to use the free 811 service before digging to reduce the risk of striking an underground utility line. At a time when we’re relying on important utilities to connect us and keep us safe at home, calling 811 or visiting www.onecallofwyoming.com is really the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area so that you can dig safely.”

Black Hills Energy reminds you:

  1. Call or Click Before You Dig.  Always “Call or Click Before You Dig” at least 2 working days in advance to have utility lines marked.  You can call 811 toll-free, or schedule online at www.onecallofwyoming.com

At no charge to you, utility locators will respond within two business days to mark the approximate location of buried utility lines at your site with color-coded paint or flags.

  • Mark Your Planned Excavation Site.  Using white spray paint, stakes, or flags mark the area around your planned excavation site before you call. “White-lining” helps the utility locator understand your plan and reduces the chance for project delays if the utility locator must return to locate additional areas.
  • Respect the Marks.  Always dig with care and use a shovel within 18 – 24 inches of any utility lines as opposed to using heavy equipment. Just a nick can create a weak spot that may develop into a gas leak, cause an electrical or internet outage or result in injury.
  • Don’t Rely on Old Line Locate Marks.  If you don’t dig within 10 days of having utility lines marked, contact One Call of Wyoming: www.onecallofwyoming.com again. At no charge, utility locators will gladly return to re-mark the lines as quickly as possible. Never rely on outdated information.   

Visit www.call811.com or www.blackhillsenergy.com/safety  and click on Call 811 before you dig for more information about 811 and safe digging practices.

Black Hills Energy Provides Resources for Customers Impacted Financially By The COVID-19 Pandemic

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With the continuance of the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Hills Energy understood many of their customers could be facing financial hardships.

As a result, the company showed their support by temporarily suspending nonpayment disconnections and late-payment charges effective March 16, 2020.

Now, as communities work to find a new normal, Black Hills Energy will be resuming their standard collection processes in Wyoming, as of August 10, 2020.

Black Hills Energy is working hard to ensure their customers know of the many options for financial support available to them as part of a proactive outreach for assistance.

The company has shared several possible solutions, information and resources available to customers to ensure they take full advantage of those options.

“Our normal has always meant supporting our customers and communities, and it still does, which is why we support making available several programs to help those who have been financially impacted by COVID-19,” said Mark Stege, Vice President of Wyoming Operations.

Customers are encouraged to take advantage of the following programs if they find themselves struggling to pay their utility bills during this time:

• Budget billing is a free, stable payment plan. It gives customer’s more predictable bills by averaging the amount you pay each month.

• Payment arrangements provide extended payment terms to help customer’s get back on track. A customer can enter into one of these flexible arrangements online or by calling 888-890-5554.

• Black Hills Cares helps eligible residential customers in need pay their Black Hills Energy bills or emergency energy-related expenses. The program uses voluntary donations from our employees and customers and match those contributions dollar for dollar. If you’d like to help families in your community, check the box on your payment stub and Black Hills Energy will match your gift.

• Medical extensions offer qualifying residential customers a limited extension of time to pay their utility bill.

• 211.org is a comprehensive source of social services information in the U.S. This free service connects millions of people to help in meeting essential needs and more.

• Additional assistance programs are available in certain areas. Contact us to learn more. 

“Black Hills Energy has always set a priority to do all we can to keep the lights on and the gas flowing in the communities we serve, particularly during times of hardship,” said Stege. “As we all transition into a new normal, Black Hills Energy will continue to take steps to support our customers as they continue to rebound from the effects of COVID-19.”

To learn more about what the company is doing to assist customers, please visit: blackhillsenergy.com/covid-WY or give us a call at 888-890-5554 to discuss options that may be available for you.

Black Hills Energy Gives Back to Wyoming Communities

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Black Hills Energy is much more than an energy company. The company believes in investing in local economies, helping families in need, and supporting the communities employees work and live in. 

In 2019, the direct economic impact of Black Hills Energy in Wyoming totaled $144 million. This included compensation for employees, charitable giving, payments to suppliers, and property, sales and use taxes paid to communities.

As part of this, charitable impact totaled $345 thousand dollars, including financial support for nonprofits, economic development, low-income energy assistance, investments in trees, and support for United Ways – all making a positive impact in the hometowns of employees and customers in Wyoming.

Giving back is more than just writing checks. Black Hills Energy also supported communities in 2019 in other ways, including:

  • More than 2,400 customers participated in energy efficiency programs; saving energy costs.
  • More than 65 families received energy assistance funds as part of the Black Hills Cares program.
  • More than 50 community organizations benefitted from volunteer time shared by 40 employees.
  • Over 25 first responders learned emergency response techniques around natural gas and electrical lines.

“At Black Hills Energy we believe strong communities help make for strong companies. If our communities are not strong, we won’t be either,” said Linn Evans, president and chief executive officer at Black Hills Energy. “Our hearts go out to all those impacted by COVID-19, whether physically or economically. In addition to our community impact initiatives, as the pandemic became a reality in our hometowns this spring, we partnered with our communities to help fill basic needs by designating $375,000 for immediate relief efforts. And, we stand ready to partner with our communities as they emerge from the impact of coronavirus.”

“Seeing our company and its employees give back to so many communities and organizations, exhibits the Black Hills Energy’s culture at its finest, and it is something I am glad to represent every day,” said Mark Stege, Wyoming’s vice president of operations.

To learn more about all the ways Black Hills Energy is supporting communities please visit:     www.blackhillsenergy.com/community and click on the Community section. 

About Black Hills Energy

Black Hills Corp. (NYSE: BKH) is a customer focused, growth-oriented utility company with a tradition of improving life with energy and a vision to be the energy partner of choice. Based in Rapid City, South Dakota, the company serves 1.28 million natural gas and electric utility customers in eight states: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. More information is available at www.blackhillscorp.com and www.blackhillsenergy.com.

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