A company that owns a wind farm in Kansas is suing City Utilities, saying CU bought $1.7 million less in energy than they agreed to.
CU has an agreement with Smoky Hills Wind Project to purchase wind energy, but Smoky Hills says a series of “curtailments” caused CU to buy less energy and for Smoky Hills to receive less value in tax benefits.
The suit says the curtailments were ordered by the Southwest Power Pool, a group of regional utilities, including CU, that buys and sells energy between each other based on who is producing the energy most efficiently.
Curtailments – reasons for less energy to be bought – are expected, but the suit shows a disagreement about which party should be responsible.
Smoky Hills says it is responsible in the case of an “emergency curtailment” but not an “economic curtailment,” and says those that occurred between 2012 and 2013 constitute the latter.
“(City Utilities) has taken the position that it is not obligated under the (Renewable Energy Purchase Agreement) to pay (Smoky Hills) for the loss and has not paid (Smoky Hills) for the loss,” the suit says.
CU spokesman Joel Alexander said the utility company won’t say much about the issue while it’s in court.
“CU has been in communication with the plaintiff but dispute resolution procedures have not been successful,” Alexander said. “As with any legal matter under review and litigation we will have not comment until a final resolution has been reached, except to say that City Utilities denies plaintiff’s claims and will vigorously defend this matter.”
The lawsuit doesn’t explain in detail the difference between the types of curtailments, but it says anything that’s not an emergency is automatically an economic curtailment.
The suit says Smoky Hills sent CU a letter on Oct. 29 “putting (CU) on notice that it owes (Smoky Hills) for the loss and requesting payment,” and that CU is in violation of an agreement because it didn’t pay by Nov. 13.
Smoky Hills is officially accusing CU of two counts of breach of contract. The suit asks the court to demand CU to pay for the loss and “for such other relief as is fair and just.”
The suit was filed Dec. 29, and nothing has been filed in the case since then.