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KCC approves agreement allowing Evergy to recover 2021 winter storm costs

(Photo by Rissa Shaw)
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 11:46 AM CDT
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TOPEKA (KWCH) – The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) approved a non-unanimous settlement agreement on Thursday allowing Evergy to recover costs incurred during the February 2021 winter storm from customers in central Kansas (formerly Westar). The agreement also credits Kansas Metro customers (formerly KCP&L) for the sale of excess power back to the Southwest Power Pool during that same time. The Central and Metro divisions are owned by the same parent company, Energy, Inc., but operate separately.

Under the settlement agreement, the average Evergy Central residential customer’s monthly bill is expected to increase by $2.82 for two years beginning in April 2023. The average Evergy Metro residential customer will see a $6.60 monthly credit for one year.

KCC Staff, the Citizens Utility Ratepayer Board (CURB), Evergy and the Kansas Electric Power Cooperative supported the settlement. Kansas Industrial Consumers, the Natural Gas Transportation Customer Coalition, and Coffeyville Resources Refining & Marketing, LLC opposed it, claiming it unjustly shifts costs from residential customers to industrial customers and fails to reward conservation efforts. The Commission rejected those arguments, finding that within each customer class, some customers made efforts to conserve, while other customers did not. Thus, there was no evidence to suggest reallocation on a class-wide basis would only reward customers who curtailed their energy usage.

“The Commission reiterates the unique nature of Winter Storm Uri and the extraordinary costs it produced.  As the Opponents of the Non-Unanimous Settlement acknowledge, Winter Storm Uri caused unprecedented financial harm throughout Kansas.  Likewise, the evidence demonstrates that some customers in all rate classes conserved electricity and assisted in avoiding a system-wide failure, like Texas experienced.”

“The evidence before the Commission suggests that, under the circumstances, the Non-Unanimous Settlement represents the lowest interest rate and the lowest customer impact of all Kansas utilities for Winter Storm Uri related costs.”

The order also states that any proceeds received by Evergy from ongoing federal or state investigations into market manipulation, price gouging or civil suits will be passed on to customers subject to winter storm recovery charges.

The order can be viewed on the Commission’s website at Document Details (ks.gov). A recording is available on the KCC YouTube channel.

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