Interim study committee to look at municipalities

PIERRE, S.D. (DRG News) – The South Dakota Legislature has established an interim study committee evaluate the legal right of a municipality to provide electricity to areas annexed into the municipality.

The interim committee comes as the result of a bill (SB66) introduced by the state’s rural electric cooperatives during the 2019 legislative session that would have repealed municipalities’ right to do so.

Pierre city administrator Kristi Honeywell says cities with municipal electric systems have traditionally had the ability to annex service territory as their city boundaries expand. She says the local municipal utility should be able to provide all city services to the growing area, including electricity.

When municipalities annex land, those rural electric customers become city municipal utilities customers. But, Honeywell says, the rural companies do receive payment.

Another part of the interim study committee’s focus will be to study the impact on economic development in the state.