WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — State regulators are still looking for answers about why Evergy’s capital expenditure projections jumped by $1.2 billion. On Tuesday, they announced that Evergy will appear during an online workshop on Dec. 13 to explain the jump.
Last month, the Kansas Corporation Commission said the company’s capital spending plan filed this year increased dramatically compared to projections shared when the company presented its Sustainability Transformation Plan (STP) last year.
The KCC ordered Evergy to work on finding a date for a workshop to explain the necessity for the $1.2 billion increase and the impact it will have. Evergy will also answer questions from KCC commissioners, KCC staff and the Citizens Utility Ratepayer Board.
Evergy must submit updated and comprehensive financial modeling by Dec. 2, showing expected retail rate changes resulting from continued increases in capital expenditures.
Then on Tuesday, Dec. 13, the workshop will begin at 9:30 a.m. and be conducted by Zoom. Customers can view it on the KCC’s YouTube channel. It will also be recorded for later viewing.
After the KCC order in September, we reached out to Evergy for a response. Gina Penzig, the external communications manager, said affordable electricity and competitive rates are a top priority for the company.
“Our capital investment plan is consistent with achieving regionally competitive rates,” she said. “Over the past four years, Evergy has reduced our operational costs by hundreds of millions of dollars keeping rates flat for customers. Our capital investment plan is low compared to our regional peers and is laser-focused on maintaining a reliable electrical grid and ensuring a responsible transition to cleaner and renewable energy sources.”
Penzig said the company sees the KCC workshop as an excellent opportunity to provide additional information on the need for Evergy’s planned investments and how they will benefit customers.
“The Commission expressly states that the information we provided meets their filing requirements, but they’d like more detail,” she said. “We look forward to the dialogue with the Commission and regulatory stakeholders.”
Evergy is required to file a capital investment plan with the KCC annually. A report filed by KCC staff in response to the 2022 report expressed concern that the expenditures outlined exceeded those reported in the STP by 21.82%.
The 2022 five-year Capital Investment plan was $1 billion higher than the 2021 five-year plan, and this increased spending projection was on top of a previously announced $1 billion increase between Evergy’s 2020 and 2021 five-year plan.