Montana-Dakota Utilities surpasses 50,000 natural gas customers in Black Hills
BISMARCK, N.D. – Dec. 28, 2015 – Montana-Dakota Utilities has surpassed 50,000 natural gas customers in the Black Hills Region, a milestone that has been 87 years in the making. The Black Hills Region extends from Belle Fourche through Rapid City.
“A big thank you goes out to our customers for giving us the pleasure of providing them safe and reliable service every day. It’s exciting to be a part of a thriving and growing region,” said Ron Blum, director of Montana-Dakota’s Black Hills Region. “Achieving this milestone also would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our outstanding employees.”
Montana-Dakota brought natural gas service to the Black Hills in 1928, running a transmission pipeline from Baker, Montana. The first towns to receive service were Rapid City, Sturgis, Whitewood, Deadwood, Lead, Spearfish and Belle Fourche. Today, Montana-Dakota serves 18 communities in the Black Hills region.
The Rapid City Journal proclaimed Oct. 31, 1928, as Gas Day following the successful extension of natural gas to the Black Hills. Customer growth has been steady since the beginning, but the region and the natural gas system experienced some spurts, especially in the 1940s when Ellsworth Air Force Base originated, and the 1950s during minuteman missile site construction. Homestake Gold Mine in Lead was one of the first large commercial customers and many more were added over the years.
Montana-Dakota faced major challenges, as did the community, with the 1972 flood in Rapid City. Major portions of the gas service were destroyed and had to be rebuilt quickly. As the company reached the 1980s and ‘90s, it went through a period of replacing aged mains and service lines, taking advantage of advanced construction methods and using new materials that keep Montana-Dakota’s system safe and reliable.
“We’ve marked 87 years of service and have now exceeded 50,000 customers,” Blum said. “We look forward to the next 50,000 customers and serving the Black Hills region with safe and reliable natural gas for many years to come.”
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