Edward Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org, (314) 705-4975
Kansas City, MO -- Following Sierra Club’s intervention, Evergy customers will not have to pay for electricity they did not use during the COVID-19 crisis. Last year, Evergy asked the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) for the ability to track lost revenues because of decreased power sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, which would have allowed the utility to recover the money from customers in a future rate case. The utility withdrew this proposal as part of an order the PSC issued yesterday.
The decision is the result of Evergy’s request for an accounting authority order (AAO) from the PSC, which regulates monopoly electric utilities. The utility requested permission from the PSC to track three items, including expenses related to COVID-19 like personal protective equipment, earned but uncollected income like waived late fees and reconnection fees, and the lost revenues because of decreased sales. In July, Kansas regulators allowed Evergy to track lost revenue that its customers may have to pay in the future, which Sierra Club opposes.
The AAO is a mechanism for a monopoly utility to track costs. Stakeholders like Sierra Club must petition to intervene in order to provide comments on tracking costs when a utility files an AAO with the PSC. The costs a utility tracks during a specific amount of time in an AAO can then be included in the next rate case, which is also filed with the PSC. Stakeholders like Sierra Club will have another opportunity to intervene and comment on whether a proposed rate increase is prudent at that time. Great Rivers Environmental Law Center represented Sierra Club before the PSC.
Statement from Andy Knott, Senior Campaign Representative for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Missouri:
“We are happy that Evergy abandoned its plan that could have charged customers in Missouri for power they did not use. Evergy’s executives should follow suit in Kansas. Struggling customers do not need to pay extra for electricity they never used in order to prop up Evergy’s dirty coal plants and shareholder profits in either state. We also encourage Evergy to adopt the consumer safeguards included in a letter Build Power MO-KAN sent to the utility in December. Because people are still struggling, utilities like Ameren, Empire, and Spire should follow Evergy’s lead and voluntarily suspend utility disconnections."
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.