PSC Extends Cold Weather Rule, Opens Investigation Into Effects Of Cold Snap

LINCOLN, NE (MARCH 2, 2021) – In response to the arctic cold that gripped a large portion of the
nation including Nebraska in late February, the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) has
issued an Order extending the Cold Weather Rule and opening an investigation into the effects of the cold weather event.

“Gas utilities under PSC regulation have told us that the spike in natural gas prices during this
event will likely cause a substantial impact on customers’ bills in the coming months,” said
Commission Chair Dan Watermeier. “We’re exploring what options we have to help mitigate
the impact of this spike.”

To help in the information gathering process, the PSC will hold workshops in early April with
each of its gas utilities, Black Hills Energy and North Western Energy. Details on
the two workshops can be found in the Order opening the docket (NG-111/PI-237) on the PSC

As a part of the effort the PSC has extended its cold weather rule through May 31.
Implemented in 2003, when the PSC was given regulatory authority over the state’s
gas utilities (Black Hills Energy and North Western Energy) the cold weather rule
provides financially strapped customers a little extra time to pay their bills during the winter
months and adds protection for low-income customers.

Commissioner Watermeier said, “Typically the cold weather rule runs from November through
March. By extending it, we hope to help ensure natural gas service remains uninterrupted in the
event customers experience higher bills.”

The cold weather rule says that a customer’s service may not be shut off without allowing an additional 30 days to pay beyond the normal bill date and provides additional protections for low-income customers.

Nebraska communities served by municipally owned natural gas utilities are not subject to
regulation by the PSC and are not required to comply with the cold weather rule or the
informational gathering related to docket NG-111/PI-237.

Customers having difficulty paying natural gas bills should contact their gas company to explore
payment plans and assistance options. Customers can also contact local public assistance agencies
for help with natural gas bills.