IUB Approves Farm Tap Disconnection Notices for Black Hills Energy Customers with Easement Issues
The IUB issued an order on March 30, 2021, allowing Black Hills Energy (Black Hills) to send natural gas disconnection notices to 72 customers throughout Black Hills’ Iowa service territory. These customers were identified by Black Hills in previous filings with the IUB as having outstanding easement issues regarding their farm tap gas service.
A farm tap is a natural gas fuel line which connects directly with the interstate natural gas pipeline owned by Northern Natural Gas Company (NNG). Black Hills provides natural gas distribution service to farm tap customers on behalf of NNG.
The order requires Black Hills to send affected customers a letter explaining the farm tap disconnection no earlier than May 15, 2021. It will then allow six more months for Black Hills to negotiate outstanding easements before a farm tap customer could be disconnected. The order also requires Black Hills to send a 30-day notice prior to any farm tap disconnection to customers who still have outstanding farm tap easement issues. Disconnections would begin November 15, 2021, at the earliest.
On April 20, 2017, the IUB issued an order in Docket No. SPU-2015-0039, requiring Black Hills to take control and ownership of all farm taps it provides service through due to potential safety issues with customer-owned farm taps. As part of the April 20, 2017 order, the IUB required Black Hills to have the rights to enter and maintain the farm tap. At the time the order was issued, Black Hills had approximately 1,632 farm taps it needed to examine to ensure the farm taps complied with the requirements established in the April 20, 2017 order.
Black Hills has been working with farm tap customers since November 2020 to obtain easements and in a February 15, 2021, filing to the IUB indicated there are 72 customers remaining with outstanding easement issues.
Customers should contact Black Hills’ Farm Tap Customer Service at 515-343-2040 with any questions or concerns.