By Ty Gorman, Senior Field Organizer, Kansas Beyond Coal
KCC APPROVED FULL PROGRAMS 9/1/2023
In a great victory for Kansans, KCC Commissioners Susan Duffy and Andrew French approved the full, robust set of Energy Efficiency programs supported by a broad array of customers and stakeholders.
Sierra Club helped lead a coalition of partner organizations and contributed significant and important testimony to this docket, in addition to hundreds of comments from our members.
It took seven months of deliberation for the KCC to reach this conclusion, ten years after enabling legislation was passed, during which time Kansas fell to 49th worst in the nation on energy efficiency.
Commissioner Susan Duffy said, “We need to jump-start energy efficiency in Kansas; I hope the utility understands the need in Kansas and will work with this.” Commissioner Andrew French said that the forceful and unanimous public comments in favor of energy efficiency helped steer his decision.
Almost all stakeholders in the energy efficiency docket, other than gas companies and KCC staff, overwhelmingly agreed that the full set of programs were far superior, saving ratepayers 243,000Mwh (246MW demand) compared to just 19,700 mWh (163MW demand) in the alternative statement put forward by the KCC staff and supported in a dissenting opinion by Commissioner Dwight Keen.
The KCC’s majority decision will aid Evergy customers in reducing their energy use, and will help low-income and fixed income customers lessen their energy burden and avoid involuntary shutoffs. Hundreds of Kansans commented overwhelmingly in favor of the full energy efficiency program investments last summer. Sierra Club, The Citizens' Utility Ratepayer Board (CURB), Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, and Climate + Energy Project submitted joint comments in favor of the substantial benefits to low-income customers approved by Commissioners Duffy and French.
The Inflation Reduction Act will complement the programs, and the savings from utility programs , state and local programs will be tracked in a detailed evaluation and measurement process overseen by the commission and other stakeholders.
Commissioners French and Duffy have made the right decision for all Evergy customers by jump starting energy efficiency in Kansas in tandem with massive federal funding for home efficiency available in 2024. Comprehensive investment in the heating and cooling efficiency of low-income households is among the most valuable and cost-effective ways to reduce peak electric prices for all customers and improve quality of life for struggling Kansas families.