PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Black Hills Power intends to spend less this year on encouraging economic development in western South Dakota.

Jason Keil, the company’s regulatory and finance manager, said the budget is $142,350. Last year $159,850 was planned and $116,814 was used.

“2020 was a challenging year for us,” Keil told the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. “We did underspend in 2020 due to COVID.”

Joe Rezac, a commission analyst, said the 2021 plan seemed consistent with those in years past.

Commissioner Kristi Fiegen said she appreciated the stability. “You guys are a leader in that area,” she told several company officials on the call. 

BHP’s 2020 spending report and 2021 plan received the commission’s approval.

“The full extent of the COVID-19 pandemic is still unknown, and precautions still must be taken,” the company’s filing said in part. “Such precautions are expected to impact travel and other economic development activities.”