Evergy customers in the Wichita area will see a monthly increase of about $4.64 starting the end of December.
The energy provider originally sought what would have amounted to an average increase of $14.24 per month for Kansas Central customers.
After that proposal was met with public criticism, entities including the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, Spirit AeroSystems the Wichita School District joined the rate case, which ended in a settlement approved Tuesday by the Kansas Energy Commission.
The settlement will give Evergy Kansas Central a net revenue increase of 3.45%, or $74 million. Meanwhile, Evergy Kansas Metro will receive a net revenue decrease of 4.53%, or $32.9 million.
Evergy Kansas Central includes customers in Wichita, Topeka, Pittsburg and Hutchinson. Evergy Kansas Metro includes customers in the Kansas City area.
The new rates will begin in the billing cycle date starting Dec. 21, according to a Tuesday press release sent out by the company.
The settlement allows Evergy to file another rate case within a year to update rates regarding Panasonic-related distribution investment, Wolf Creek Decommissioning Trust adjustment and investing in a renewable generating resources to address adequacy requirements.
In an email to The Wichita Eagle, an Evergy spokesperson said the company does not anticipate an abbreviated rate case related to Panasonic. If the company does pursue an updated rate next year, the spokesperson said it will be related to “the acquisition of additional wind energy for our Kansas customers.”
How energy rates are set in Kansas
Energy companies have to go through multiple steps to change their rates in Kansas, according to the Kansas Corporation Commission’s website.
Rates are first set by a two step process. First, find the utility’s annual revenue requirement and then set up the customer’s rates accordingly.
To change a company’s rates, the company has to submit a request to the KCC. Then, the commission follows a certain amount of steps to accept or decline the request. Those steps are:
Commission staff reviews the request
KCC holds a public hearing. (Not a required step, but it is common.)
KCC holds an evidentiary hearing to review the facts
KCC reviews the record
KCC makes a decision
An energy company has to prove that the increase is warranted.
Finding help paying your energy bills
If you need help keeping your home warm this winter, there are several programs that offer assistance to those who are struggling making ends meet.
The Low Income Energy Assistance Program provides assistance through the Kansas Department for Children and Families to eligible Kansans. The program provides people with one time payments to go towards their utility costs.
There are also several resources through Salvation Army, including Share the Warmth, Sharing the Warmth and Heat Share.
To see more information on resources in Kansas, you can visit the KCC’s website.