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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 26, 2009                                      
CONTACT:  Leah Mohr, Communications Manager, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201 or (605) 280-4327

PUC approves MidAmerican Energy Company's energy efficiency plan

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission this week approved a plan by MidAmerican Energy Company to offer energy efficiency programs to its electric and natural gas customers. The plan is expected to save 564,000 therms of natural gas and more than 1.7 million kilowatt-hours of electricity by 2011 and will go into effect May 1, 2009.

The MidAmerican plan is a broad program with components to help residential, commercial and industrial customers reduce their energy use and save money in the process. For example, residential customers are encouraged by the availability of a rebate to install qualified high-efficiency air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces and water heaters. Another program, "SummerSaver," enables residential customers to allow MidAmerican to control their central air conditioning on hot days when electric demand is at a peak. In exchange, the participants receive a financial incentive. Commercial and industrial customers are offered rebates to install efficient heating, cooling, lighting and motors.

"This program will lower average bills by giving people the tools they need to manage their energy use," said PUC Chairman Dusty Johnson. "We may not be able to control global energy trends and prices, but with programs like this, we can help South Dakotans spend literally millions less on energy," he said.

MidAmerican Energy Company provides utility service to approximately 82,000 South Dakota customers in the southeastern part of the state. The company serves natural gas customers in Flandreau, Salem, Sioux Falls, Centerville, Canton, Yankton, Vermillion and Elk Point as well as other communities. MidAmerican offers electric and natural gas service in Alcester, Dakota Dunes and North Sioux City.

"It's evident that MidAmerican put a lot of thought and work into composing this program," commented PUC Vice Chairman Steve Kolbeck. "The final product is comprehensive and clearly establishes the savings that can be gained by its customers."

PUC Commissioner Gary Hanson noted the process that arrived at the final product. "MidAmerican personnel and a team of PUC staff analysts worked together to refine MidAmerican's proposal," he said. "Their efforts complemented the other's work and they have successfully provided us with a blueprint for energy efficiency that will benefit consumers."

The PUC's action occurred during its regular meeting in Pierre on March 24. This is the third energy efficiency plan the commission has approved in recent years. The PUC approved natural gas conservation programs by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. in January 2006. Otter Tail Power Company received approval of their energy efficiency plan in May 2008. Xcel Energy has also filed proposed energy efficiency programs with the PUC. The commission is expected to take action on that filing within the next several months.

In 2007, the PUC launched South Dakota Energy Smart, a statewide initiative that recognizes and promotes energy efficiency. As a South Dakota Energy Smart partner, MidAmerican joined nine other energy provider groups that pledged to improve energy efficiency among the state's energy users. Visit for information about the South Dakota Energy Smart initiative.

Visit Docket EL07-015 on the PUC Web site for more information about MidAmerican Energy Company's energy efficiency plan.