The legislative session started in January and will last until the first part of April. KLER has been active in the capitol this year advocating for reasonable changes to position Kansas for regionally competitive electric rates.
HB 2181 and SB 81 would require the KCC to provide a report on the cost of electricity in other states, compared to Kansas. The goal is for the Legislature to measure whether Kansas is getting more or less competitive. Instead of passing a bill, legislators encouraged the KCC to simply provide reports; the KCC will start in 2022. KLER Testimony.
HB 2180 and SB 80 would moderate increases in the Transmission Delivery Charge on Evergy bills by only allowing Evergy to increase rates when they go through a rate case, instead of annual increases. There was a hearing in the House but it failed to move forward after the KCC opposed the bill. By the way, there will be a large increase in April. KLER Testimony.
Here's a fact sheet on both bills. Evergy and the electric cooperatives opposed both bills (technically they were "neutral" on HB 2181 and SB 81, but it came across as opposed.)
A securitization bill, SB 245 sponsored by Evergy, started to move very rapidly through the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, which is a strange place for an energy bill. While securitization, in general, can be very positive for customers, SB 245 lacked important consumer benefits. Senate Leadership agreed to slow the bill down, letting KLER and other stakeholders work with Evergy to improve the bill.
After several weeks of discussions, a new bill, Senate Substitute for HB 2072, emerged with KLER's support. It passed the Senate 33-7 and the House 113-9. It has possibly the strongest consumer protections of any securitization bill in the country. Here's a fact sheet on securitization.
On March 25 KLER presented to the Senate Utilities Committee about the concern with the rate increases associated with Evergy's STP capital spending plan. As reported by the Wichita Eagle, rates are projected to increase 10-11%. That would be about $220M a year, each year, making it the largest increase in state history. KLER is asking the KCC to take action to moderate the increases. Here's the presentation.
The highlight of the 2019 session was the passage of Senate Bill 69, which mandated a comprehensive study of electric rates. In addition to reviewing causes for high rates, the study addresses potential solutions to reduce rates to regionally competitive levels. The first phase of the study was completed on January 8, 2020 and can be found here. The second phase of the study was completed July 1, 2020.
2018 was the first year electricity prices became an issue in the Kansas statehouse. The highlight of the 2018 session was Senate passage of SCR 1612, a resolution highlighting Kansas' challenges with electric rates.