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Public has chance to speak out on KCP&L rate increase  

KCP&L is also boosting spending for renewable energy to meet a state mandate. The Kansas Renewable Energy Standards Act, passed by the Kansas Legislature in 2009, requires that KCP&L have 15 percent of its capacity provided by renewable resources by 2016 and 20 percent by 2020. KCP&L added 32 wind turbines to help meet the mandate, and their cost is part of the requested rate increase.

Credit:  By STEVE EVERLY, The Kansas City Star | www.kansascity.com 30 July 2012 ~~

KCP&L customers in Kansas today can tell state regulators what they think about a proposal that could raise an average household electricity bill about $150 a year.

The public hearing in Overland Park is the only one scheduled in the area about the proposed increase of $63.5 million for the utility. Residential customers’ rates would rise 12.9 percent, so a household using 1,490 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the summer and 800 kilowatt-hours in the winter would see bills increase just over $12 a month. Small-business customers would see an increase of about 10 percent, larger commercial customers 22.9 percent, and big industrial customers 13.5 percent.

The rate request is the first since the utility completed its energy plan including the coal-fired Iatan II power plant, which cost more than $2 billion. That expense is now included in rates, but there are other costs, the utility says, that need to be paid, including an environmental upgrade to another power plant.

David Springe, head of the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board in Topeka, which represents consumers in rate cases, said KCP&L customers needed to speak up about their rising electric bills, which have increased several times over the past five years. A typical KCP&L residential bill for July, Springe said, if the current request had been granted, would have been 77 percent more than was paid in 2007. That figure includes a cost-of-fuel charge, which is part of the bill.

A typical residential customer’s July bill has risen from $116.18 in 2007 to $179.66 in 2011, he said, and the rate increase now being considered would boost it to $206.

“People need to understand that at some point you have to apply some pressure to ward off some of these increases, Springe said.

One issue he intends to address is the requested 10.4 percent return on equity or shareholder profit, which Springe said should be reduced.

Kansas City Power & Light said, however, that July was one of the hottest months of the year, so comparing just July bills didn’t give the full picture. Annual rates since 2007 are up much less, 34.5 percent, the utility said, and if the full amount now requested was included the increase in annual rates would fall below 50 percent. Katie McDonald, a spokeswoman for KCP&L, said the utility’s rates would remain well below the national average.

The Kansas request, if approved, would go into effect in January for the utility’s 246,000 customers in the state. In February, KCP&L asked Missouri regulators for a slightly higher increase, up to 15 percent, which would cost an average residential customer $180 a year.

The upgrades to reduce emissions are at the La Cygne Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant jointly owned by KCP&L and Westar, Kansas’ biggest electric utility. Regulators have already approved spending $1.2 billion on the project, which the two utilities are splitting.

KCP&L is also boosting spending for renewable energy to meet a state mandate. The Kansas Renewable Energy Standards Act, passed by the Kansas Legislature in 2009, requires that KCP&L have 15 percent of its capacity provided by renewable resources by 2016 and 20 percent by 2020. KCP&L added 32 wind turbines to help meet the mandate, and their cost is part of the requested rate increase.

The Kansas Corporation Commission’s public hearing will begin at 6 p.m. today at Overland Park City Hall’s Council Chambers, 8500 Santa Fe.

For those who can’t attend, comments can be submitted to the commission through Sept. 28. Comments should reference Docket No. 12-KCPE-764-RTS and can be emailed to public.affairs@kcc.ks.gov, or by phone at 800-662-0027, or mailed to Kansas Corporation Commission, Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, 1500 SW Arrowhead Road, Topeka, KS 66604-4027.

Source:  By STEVE EVERLY, The Kansas City Star | www.kansascity.com 30 July 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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