State regulators have approved a 9 percent rate increase for Kansas City Power & Light’s 250,000 Kansas customers. The rate hike is expected to generate $48 million more per year for the electricity company. KCP&L says the increase pays for power plant upgrades and means a cleaner, more reliable electric system.
The increase is the result of a compromise between consumer advocates and the utility. David Springe, of the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board, says the negotiators settled on a sensible rate increase and a reasonable profit rate for KCP&L of 9.3 percent.
“I think on balance it’s a pretty good deal for consumers. Certainly, a 9.3 percent return on equity is very favorable for consumers and I think compares quite well in the region and nationally. So It’s very positive,” says Springe.
KCC Commissioner Pat Apple voted against the proposal. He says Kansas customers of KCP&L consistently have to pay more for electricity than customers on the Missouri side of the border.
“Kansas consumers and businesses are at a disadvantage. Higher rates discourage economic development in Kansas and impact family and business budgets,” says Apple.
Apple says because of that and other concerns, he believes the agreement's 9.3 percent profit rate for KCP&L is too high. The company had originally requested a 10.3 percent rate of return. In a statement, a company spokesperson says the lower profit rate might cause them to ask for more frequent rate increases in the future.