KCC order in KCP&L case opens study into new electric rate structure for schools, lowers rates

The Kansas Corporation Commission has opened a general investigation into whether Kansas City Power & Light should establish a separate electric rate for schools. The move was part of a unanimous settlement reached Thursday that would also result in a decrease of rates of $10.7 million for KCP&L customers.

The commission has directed KCP&L and the schools to file comments on the scope of the separate tariff investigation by Feb. 5 and for the KCC staff to file a report and recommendations by March 18.

Earlier this year, energy consultant David Banks testified that schools were paying inordinately high rates for electric use. Schools should be a separate consumer class because they are publicly funded and their operating characteristics are different than businesses and other commercial customers, he said.

Banks spoke on behalf of Olathe USD 233, Spring Hill USD 230, Blue Valley USD 229 and Johnson County Community College. He also recommended KCP&L treat schools in the same manner as Westar Energy does; a move that had been supported by KASB and Wichita USD 259.

Here is a link to the KCC order.

The $10.7 million rate decrease will take effect on December 20. The average residential customer will save approximately 40 cents per month or $4.80 per year. Included in that decrease are $7.5 million in savings realized from the company’s merger with Westar Energy earlier this year.

The bill credits, of approximately $100 per customer, will begin in March. The bill credits are the result of tax savings from the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

The KCC found the settlement agreement to be in the public interest and that it will result in reasonable rates that will enable KCP&L, which serves about 250,000 Kansas customers, to continue to provide sufficient and efficient service.

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