The Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) heard testimony on February 23 in a base rate case from financial experts representing KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations, a division of Great Plains Energy.
The investor-owned, regulated utility – which serves more than 800,000 customers in 47 northwest Missouri and eastern Kansas counties – had given 60 days’ notice in December that a request (Docket No. ER-2016-0156) would be filed with the PSC to combine its two Missouri service areas and increase base rates for customers within them by 8.2 percent.
Specifically, the utility has asked to merge its Missouri Public Service and the St. Joseph Light & Power service areas. Customers impacted by this rate increase request live in areas that were served by Aquila through 2007 – primarily, in Missouri cities outside of Kansas City.
If approved, the increase would result in an extra $9 billed to the average residential customer – defined as a homeowner who uses 1,112 kilowatt hours (kWh) per month in the summer and 744 kWh/month in the winter.
It has been four years since KCP&L asked for a rate increase in this part of its service territory. The company said it needs higher rates in order to recover costs associated with the deployment of additional regional transmission lines and for the numerous infrastructure and system improvements it has made during the last few years.
“Our employees work hard to manage costs and ensure we provide electricity at competitive rates,” said Great Plains Energy and KCP&L CEO Terry Bassham, adding, “However, in order to continue to provide reliable power and excellent customer service we’ve recently upgraded infrastructure and other critical systems. This request is a reflection of those significant investments that allow us to better serve our customers.”
Part of the 8.2 percent increase request is an increase to the Customer Charge of $14.50 per month. The Customer Charge is a fixed monthly charge that includes the cost to provide service for each customer. The company has also asked the commission to continue reflecting fuel and purchased power increases and decreases in the Fuel Adjustment Clause on customer bills.
The rate request process takes approximately 11 months in Missouri. New rates would be expected to take effect in January 2017.
Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, Great Plains Energy is the holding company of Kansas City Power & and KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations. Both utilities use KCP&L as a brand name.