Topeka, KS – Two months have passed since a coalition of organizations elevated the need for Evergy’s energy efficiency programs to move forward at the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC), and now Kansans stand to lose another month as KCC Staff’s request for an additional extension was granted to continue deliberating new terms. KCC Staff, not the Commissioners, previously agreed to a set of programs to bring robust energy efficiency offerings in Kansas, but now are jeopardizing the agreements over concerns that Evergy will be excessively compensated for administering these programs. Similar delays and resistance by KCC Staff prompted KCPL (now Evergy) to abandon its energy efficiency proposal altogether in 2017.
The KCC Commissioners still have the power to adopt the original energy efficiency package agreed to by its Staff, Evergy, and intervenors. The tug-of-war between KCC Staff and Evergy over utility profits on energy efficiency is minor compared to the huge multi-million dollar profits regulators allow Evergy to reap by continuing to operate expensive power plants that import Wyoming coal. By contrast, the programs that almost all parties agreed to over the summer would invest primarily in Kansas buildings and jobs. Should the Commission Staff derail the agreed-to energy efficiency programs, as they did last time Kansas customers tried to secure energy efficiency investments in our homes and lower our energy bills, it may take years to restart this entire process. Such an outcome is wasteful and will cause Kansans to continue to lose out on the proven and clear benefits of energy efficiency. Intervenors have given Commission Staff more than enough time to negotiate with Evergy.
Time is of the essence to approve these programs as originally agreed upon months ago. Kansans have waited far too long for the state's largest electric utility to provide meaningful programs to help save energy and money on their bills. We're continually ranked last among states in helping people save energy. We need these energy-saving programs to help lower Kansans' high energy bills, reduce our environmental footprint, and increase grid reliability by lowering energy demand. Evergy’s programs in Missouri, similar to the ones proposed here, have proven to be successful. Evergy's customers in Missouri have been reaping the benefits of those programs for almost a decade. Meanwhile, Evergy’s Kansas customers are still waiting. We should stop wasting time, money, and energy, and provide Kansas customers with the benefits of proven energy efficiency programs.