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Kansas regulators give Evergy a smaller electricity rate hike than it asked for

Evergy's Lawrence Energy Center. A coal-fired power plant.
Brian Grimmett
Kansas News Service
Evergy's Lawrence Energy Center, a coal-fired power plant.

The rate increase was approved by the Kansas Corporation Commission on Tuesday morning. Regulators scaled back Evergy’s proposed electric rate hikes, saving Kansas City-area customers $6.07 a month.

Kansas regulators dialed back electric rate hikes that Evergy wanted to impose on its customers.

Electric rates will now go up slightly for former Westar customers in the central part of Kansas and tick down for customers who used to get their kilowatts from Kansas City Power & Light. Evergy says, on average, its rates for all customers have risen about 1% since regulators approved the merging of the two companies in 2017.

Evergy Kansas Central customers — formerly Westar customers — will pay an average of $4.64 more a month under the rates approved by the Kansas Corporation Commission on Tuesday. The state regulatory agency settled on a 3.54% revenue increase for central Kansas customers, which is lower than the 9.77% increase Evergy asked for.

Evergy Kansas Metro customers — ratepayers who formerly got their electricity from Kansas City Power and Light — will save money and pay $6.07 less per month. Those rates start on the billing cycle beginning Dec. 21.

The commission said in an emailed statement that “the agreed-upon rates will provide Evergy sufficient revenue to meet its financial obligations and provide safe and reliable service at just and reasonable rates to its customers.”

The rate increase was requested because of investment in Evergy power plants and other infrastructure.

“This decision also allows Evergy to recover investments made to strengthen the electric grid and provide reliable, affordable, and sustainable service to our customers across the region,” the power company’s president and CEO David Campbell told the Topeka Capital-Journal.

The utility company wanted a $204 million increase in revenue from Kansas Central customers. Instead, the KCC approved a $74 million increase. Evergy also wanted a $14 million increase for Kansas Metro customers. The final rate was a $32.9 million decrease.

A Kansas Corporation Commission staff audit found that the company was requesting too high an increase, and a more modest rise was appropriate, the Kansas City Star reported.

The Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board recommended a $166 million revenue increase for central customers, which is $38 million less than Evergy’s original application. CURB also recommended a $24 million decrease for Kansas Metro.

The Department of Defense, state staff and the Kansas Industrial Consumers group also recommended other revenue adjustments.

This story was originally published by the Kansas City Beacon, a fellow member of the KC Media Collective.

Blaise Mesa is based in Topeka, where he covers the Legislature and state government for the Kansas City Beacon. He previously covered social services and criminal justice for the Kansas News Service.
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