- Great Plains Energy subsidiary Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) has filed a request with the Missouri Public Service Commission to increase base rates for electric service for some of its customers by 7.5%. If approved, the average impacted customer would see monthly bills rise $9.
- The Kansas City Star noted the request is KCP&L's 7th rate increase request in 10 years for the Missouri service area, with the most recent request occuring in February this year for an 8.2% bump. Regulators are still considering that request.
- KCP&L said the price increases are necessary for infrastructure upgrades, adding regional transmission lines, and complying with environmental and cybersecurity mandates.
KCP&L's proposed rate increase would not impact all customers, but those who are could wind up paying more than $100 more each year for power service—costs the utility say it needs to recover for infrastructure improvements.
“Our customers depend on KCP&L to deliver electricity to their homes and businesses each day,” said Great Plains CEO Terry Bassham. “KCP&L has one of the most reliable electrical grids in the country, and continuing that track record and quality requires investment in systems, infrastructure and equipment upgrades.”
The utility said it recommended spreading the increased charge equally across all customer classes and all components of customers’ bills, including the customer charge, a fixed monthly charge that includes the cost to provide service to a customer’s home or business. In addition, the utility said it requested a 10 month process in its filing, adding that until recently, the rate request process has taken approximately 11 months in Missouri. If the new rates are approved, they could be in effect in April or May next year.
Earlier this year, Great Plains announced plans to acquire Westar Energy, the largest electricity provider in Kansas, for $8.6 billion, saying the deal will cut costs. Westar serves about 700,000 customers across eastern Kansas and owns more than 7 GW of generation. The deal would give Great Plains more than 1.5 million customers in Kansas and Missouri and over 13 GW of total generation.
While low natural gas prices and demand have decreased the price of electricity, KCP&L said that because it sells electricity to other utilities across the country those factors have not been good for its customers.
“Our employees work hard to manage our costs to keep our rates competitive,” said Bassham. “However, we have to make additional investment in our system that isn’t covered in the current price our customers pay for electricity. We do understand that price increases can be difficult, as a result, we offer programs and assistance for those customers that need help.”