WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — New testimony filings by the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) show the KCC staff’s financial audit greatly disagreed with Evergy’s assertions of a rate hike.
A news release from the KCC says an increase of 1.66% — or $34,706,527 — was all that could be justified to provide service to Evergy Central customers.
Evergy had previously submitted documents requesting a net revenue increase of 9.77%, or $204,152,629. This rate hike would affect the average customer in the green area on the map, which includes Wichita, Hutchinson, and Salina.
These customers would pay $14.24 more a month. Around 736,000 Evergy customers are in the Kansas Central Region.
Another part of the audit was Evergy Kansas Metro, which is Evergy’s service in the Kansas City area. The KCC audit of Evergy Kansas Metro’s income and expenses determined that a 1.95% rate increase is actually not justified.
In fact, a 7.32% rate decrease totaling $53,194,189 is appropriate, the audit shows.
Evergy Kansas Metro serves approximately 273,000 customers in Lenexa, Overland Park and other communities near the Kansas City metro area. Those customers would see a monthly increase of around $3.47.
Evergy released the following statement in response to the audit Wednesday afternoon.
“We are still reviewing thousands of pages of testimony filed by many parties. While we do not agree with aspects of the testimony, we stand by the investments in reliability and customer service we have made and we are pleased by the merger-enabled efficiency gains that we are able to share with customers. We will continue to work with parties to advance this case. Our rates have been essentially flat over the past five years and even with the proposed increase will remain well under inflation during that time period.“– Evergy
The KCC says this is not the final part of the rate increase argument, though. A news release detailed what comes next.
“While an important part in the process, these results are far from final at this stage,” KCC’s release said. “(Tuesday) is the due date for direct testimony to be filed by KCC Staff and all other intervenors in the rate case. The next steps in the process include cross answering testimony, rebuttal testimony from Evergy, a settlement conference to determine if the parties can agree on a resolution to submit for Commission approval, followed by either a settlement hearing or evidentiary hearing before the Commission.”
The KCC says it will issue its final order in the docket in “late December or early January.”
For testimony filed Tuesday, click here.
The Commission is accepting public comments regarding the rate increase request through 5 p.m., Sept. 29, 2023, on its website, by mail to the Commission’s Office at 1500 SW Arrowhead Rd. in Topeka or by calling the KCC’s Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at 785-271-3140 or 800-662-0027.