MidAmerican Energy requests increase in delivery rates

MidAmerican Energy requests increase in delivery rates MidAmerican Energy has announced a proposed increase of the company's South Dakota natural gas delivery rates to cover the costs of continual improvements made to its delivery system and customer service operations. The rate request has been filed with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.

On average, the requested increase for residential customers would be approximately $2.50 per month on the natural gas delivery portion of their bill. This represents a 2.9 percent increase, based on the average customer's total gas bill in 2003.

A customer's gas bill consists of a delivery portion and a supply portion. MidAmerican's rate request applies only to the delivery portion of the bill, which includes the costs to deliver gas to a customer's home or business, maintain the natural gas distribution system and provide customer services.

The gas supply charge is the price the company pays in the wholesale gas marketplace and passes on to customers without any markup.

"The proposed increase in delivery charges is needed to support MidAmerican's commitment to provide quality service for our customers," said Todd Raba, senior vice president of delivery services. "MidAmerican works to reduce customer exposure to high natural gas market prices by taking a balanced approach to buying gas at the lowest possible prices year-round. By purchasing gas at the lower prices, placing gas in storage to use during high pricing periods, and buying gas on fixed-price contracts, we are able to help protect customers from price volatility."

MidAmerican said the rate increase would generate approximately $1.6 million to recover investments in capital expenses to improve the safety and efficiency of the gas delivery system, provide improved customer service technology, and keep pace with thriving economic development in southeastern South Dakota.

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission has final authority to review and approve any rate changes. The increase is proposed to go into effect 30 days from the filing.

MidAmerican encourages residential customers to sign up for Budget Billing to avoid monthly fluctuations in energy bills. This payment plan divides the estimated annual energy cost into equal monthly payments. To discuss Budget Billing or other payment arrangements, call MidAmerican at 888-427-5632.

Homeowners in need of financial assistance on their energy bills also should consider seeking funds available through the I CARE program. Supported by financial donation from MidAmerican Energy Company and its customers, I CARE dollars have been helping South Dakota customers since the program was founded more than a decade ago. I CARE assists customers who are in need of financial assistance with their utility bill or home weatherization. To qualify, customers must meet Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program guidelines.

MidAmerican is South Dakota's largest natural gas utility, serving more than 70,000 customers in southeastern South Dakota including Sioux Falls, Yankton and Vermillion.

MidAmerican Energy Company, Iowa's largest energy company, provides electric service to 689,000 customers and natural gas service to 669,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. It is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. Information about MidAmerican is available on the Internet at http://www.midamericanenergy.com.

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