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PUC Approves Special Electric Rate for Fake-Money Makers

As cryptocurrency comes predictably crashing down, the Public Utilities Commission is encouraging crypto-scammers to come mine their imaginary gold here in South Dakota with cheaper electricity rates:

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission gave its approval on Thursday to the request from Montana-Dakota Utilities. According to the company, a 40-foot container for bitcoin-type processing typically uses 1 megawatt of electricity.

“The new rate schedule is being proposed in response to recent inquiries for electric service to facilities housing blockchain technology where the load characteristics of such facilities far exceed those of a typical general electric service customer today and whose unique operations require terms and conditions specific to these customers,” MDU said in the application [Bob Mercer, “SD Regulators Okay New Rate MDU Wants for Data Centers,” KELO-TV, 2023.01.05].

The PUC docket does not make clear exactly what the new rate for crypto-mining data centers, “High Density Contracted Demand Rate 45“, will be. However, MDU’s initial application letter indicates Rate 45 is a lower rate that will pay off in economic development for local communities:

The rate schedule provides potential customers with an innovative pricing structure and outlines the terms and conditions which a customer must adhere to in order to be eligible for service under the rate schedule.

…the communities in which these Rate 45 customers locate will benefit through not only the employment opportunities needed to operate such facilities, but the additional tax revenue received due to these facilities locating in their communities [Travis R. Jacobson, director of regulatory affairs, Montana-Dakota Utilities, letter to Public Utilities Commission, 2022.09.21].

MDU told the PUC in December that “The impact of data center loads will likely increase the energy cost for other customers.” However, MDU says the increase will be “minimal” and could be offset by additional wind power generation.

Whatever the cryptominers have to pay, let’s just hope MDU and the PUC require that they pay in real dollars.

10 Comments

  1. larry kurtz 2023-01-10 07:23

    NorthWestern Energy owns 23.4% and Montana-Dakota Utilities owns 22.7 percent the Big Stone Power Plant in northeastern South Dakota — a monster that consumes 3,500 tons of filthy sub-bituminous coal every hour then spews heavy metal oxides over Minnesota. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison should pull no punches then sue the sh!t out of the owners of the Big Stone Power Plant and South Dakota’s dairies, too while the iron is hot.

  2. Nick Nemec 2023-01-10 07:54

    The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) operates the electric grid in all or parts of 14 states in the center of the country. Spot prices can vary widely depending on grid constraints, generation and demand. I assume the crypto miners will turn on their computers when the local spot price drops below a certain break even and shut them off when the spot price moves above their break even. https://pricecontourmap.spp.org/pricecontourmap/

  3. P. Aitch 2023-01-10 14:50

    Could SD be any further from the cutting edge? This PUC rate schedule ruling was pertinent, ten to fifteen years ago. Fear of New Things …

  4. All Mammal 2023-01-10 18:57

    The handling of our state is as innovative as a single, hand-me-down sock with the elastic blown-out. Real neato….sike!

    So ten minutes ago, gentlemen. Get in the now and work for the future.

  5. All Mammal 2023-01-10 19:00

    Haha. I just read your comment, P. Aitch. Jinx, you owe me a coke;)

  6. P. Aitch 2023-01-10 19:49

    You got it, AM. By the way, I’m watching the Golden Globes and remembering you asked for a review of President Obama’s production company’s movie “The Descendants”. It’s a documentary about the finding of the last slave ship in a river in Alabama. It also delves into the situation that many more Black kids drown than white or POC kids. There’s a few scenes where Black kids are taking swimming lessons which is extremely rare. It’s a well presented film that I recommend. The back story of white privilege and white superiority needs to be told over and over.

  7. All Mammal 2023-01-10 20:43

    P.- I watched it(: thanks. Even though I knew they found the Clotilde before watching it, I was sorta disappointed how the specimen was managed after it’s discovery.
    There is a trait in areas of our country which have been reigned by racist jerks that persists today. South Dakota is one of the places with hateful lineage running strong, similar to the Jim Crow South. It makes me wonder if there is something in the land and water that has mean aggression enacting catalysts. Russia’s entire history shows there could be an ongoing gene present that produces guys who yearn to rule the world. Is there a supremacy gene in some that makes them want to dominate the earth and pump their poison on successful communities of descendants of slavery? Is it just a cycle reenforced by ‘forgetting’ or ‘misplacing’ history? Good documentaries give birth to healthy questions.
    Hope to see an award to the Obama’s production team for their film, The Descendants and some spiffy ensembles on the Red Carpet.

  8. All Mammal 2023-01-11 14:23

    P. Aitch- did you notice the interruption during Stephen Spielberg’s award speech at the end of the Golden Globes last night? They cut out briefly with a screen that said ‘attention’ like they were doing an emergency announcement, showed a short infomercial, then back to the speech. Then suddenly, the host said goodbye and it was over. Strangest award show outro I’ve ever seen. I hope everything is ok.

  9. P. Aitch 2023-01-11 16:57

    All Mammal – That didn’t happen here in CO. Did you see the award to Eddie Murphy?

  10. All Mammal 2023-01-11 23:52

    P.- Eddie Murphy kept it real. I hope he gives us another stand-up special soon.

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