by Allen Williams
I received a card several days ago from KCPL notifying customers of another pending rate increase (Docket No 18-KCPE- -480-RTS) before the Kansas Corporate Commission (KCC). What is proposed for those using 1.366 kilowatt-hours in summer months or 833 Kilowatt-hours in winter will see a $7.29 per month increase excluding property tax rebasing and $9.19 per month including property tax rebasing. It’s approximately a 4.5 percent increase while inflation is only 2.9% that will go into effect Dec 2018. The KCPL 'justification' lists the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as a reason for a decrease in KCPL's revenue requirement." The rate proposal sounds like an opportunity for the utility to cash in on the Trump tax cut and recover lost revenue from not being able to hire illegal aliens.
Ratepayers should keep in mind that KCPL is part of not only Westar but Great Plains Energy also. Retirees and low income people will be hard pressed to pay the higher rates which should work well for cities like Overland Park who have the desire for upward development.
What was promised from the first KCPL merger?
Fox4KC reports: “They moved out right at the time KCP&L was changing its billing, aimed at improving the amount customers on budget billing paid per month. So the Dehnckes got hit with a higher monthly amount plus the yearly adjustment for what their past payments hadn't covered. The result was a whopping $900 bill. "I never had an electricity bill that high. I thought that was a misunderstanding," Dehncke said.”
KCPL already gets additional rate surcharges from ECA Energy cost Adjustment) for FUEL expenses between Billing Cycles, EER (Energy Efficiency Rider you Pay for inefficiencies KCPLdoesn't), PTS (property tax surcharge),TDC (time of day power usage between months). And lest we forget, local government also profits from KCPL rate increases with Overland Park Franchise fee, Overland Park Sales Tax (1.125%) and Johnson County Sales tax (1.475%)
That promise didn’t take long to break, just nine years later they’re looking for another major increase. Don't think you can cut electric usage and save money, it just spurs further KCPL rate requests.
The Topeka Capitol Journal further notes; “[Kansas Industrial Consumers Group, which represents large-scale energy users are] ..some of the biggest users of electricity in this state. And their rates, overall, are about 40 percent less than what you and I pay and other businesses pay as consumers. And those dollars, that rate decrease for them, comes directly out of our pockets. Somebody pays for the cost of the system."
Please, utilities aren’t benefiting this industrial conglomerate out of their own pockets. The industrial group has negotiated a better deal based on the large quantities of power consumed. Lawsuit threats also help to swing a better deal which means the residential consumer is going to wind up paying.
What was promised in the second KCPL merger?
The goal of any energy conglomerate is to control supply as a regulated monopoly and to generate profits as stated in the MERGER TO FORM LEADING ENERGY COMPANY, January 2018 Investor Update. Great Plains is part of the Sustainable Energy program which includes the UN’s sustainable development program. The sustainability includes expensive wind power turbine purchase and use at KCPL’s Spearville location as a condition of not being sued by the Sierra club. By the way, KCPL has to pay the people who add power to the grid with their wind turbines which means consumers have to reimburse KCPL.
“the expected financial and operational benefits of the merger to the companies and their shareholders (including cost savings, operational efficiencies and the impact of the anticipated merger on earnings per share..”
Projected net savings from the investor update for the Great Plains Energy conglomerate were stated as 27.8 million in 2018, 110.3 million in 2019 and 143.5 million in 20120.
But these saving were never intended to benefit consumers, they were promises made to the utility investors. So consumers will have to make good on those promises of investor returns as a condition of being a KCPL customer. It boils down to the ratepayer being on the hook for company ROI with the full blessings of the utility oversight board.
The 3 member KCC board is made up of political appointments by the Kansas Governor. It’s a cozy opportunity for various consultants to make their way on to the commission as in the case of Michael C. Moffet, a Lawrence Kansas communications consultant appointed by then Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Consultants are not tantamount to citizen ratepayer oversight of a regulated monopoly and what do communications consultants know about utility management?
The commission makeup is therefore less inclined to regard the complaints of ordinary citizens as in “the Kansas Corporation Commission denied a request to offer public comment [regarding injection wells in Douglas County at that hearing from a Mission Hills woman who has argued that the permitting process being used does not comply with federal rules under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
No public comment is necessary even if federal laws are violated. You can ‘trust’ the respective companies to provide all the ‘necessary’ evidence.
Comments on the proposed KCPL rate hike will be accepted through Oct 17,
2018 up to 5:00pm
Correspondence may be addressed to KCC Commission, Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, 1500 SW Arrowhead Road, Topeka, KS 66604-4027 or call at 1-800-662-0027 or the commissions website at www.kcc.ks.gov
There is a petition for an independent audit to verify KCPL numbers claimed for the rate increase. For those of you who have had enough as I have please sign the online petition at online petition.