CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Cheyenne-area residents will pay an average of $125 a year more for natural gas and electricity to cover the cost of a new power plant under a rate hike approved by state regulators Thursday.
The Wyoming Public Service Commission unanimously backed the Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power Co. rate hikes after 1½ days of testimony from the public, the state Office of Consumer Advocate and utility officials. The rates will take effect Oct. 1.
The average customer will pay $1.57 more a month for natural gas and $8.88 more a month for electricity.
Commercial and industrial users will also pay more, but their rates, and the associated increases, vary according to usage and rate classes.
The increase will bring in $13.6 million more in revenue to pay for the utility's new $222-million Cheyenne Prairie Generation Station. The 132-megawatt plant will be powered by natural gas and is expected to be finished by Oct. 1.
Cheyenne Light originally proposed higher increases, but its two biggest customers, Dyno Noble and Frontier Refining, objected. Representatives of the companies, the utility and the consumer advocate office then developed the plan approved by regulators. Under it, residential customers will have to pay more to cover the true costs of the electricity and natural gas than they have in the past. But they will still be subsidized by higher rates paid by industrial customers.
Cheyenne Light, a subsidiary of the Rapid City, S.D.-based Black Hills Corp., has 41,000 electricity customers and 35,000 natural gas customers in the Cheyenne area.