TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) issued an order directing Evergy to put its residential distributed generation (DG) customers back on a two-part standard residential rate design eliminating a controversial demand charge. DG customers produce their own energy, primarily using solar panels, and connect to Evergy’s grid for additional power if needed.
The commission originally approved the current three-part rate design for residential DG customers in September 2018 as part of a Westar, now Evergy, rate case. The Sierra Club and Vote Solar, who were parties to the docket, filed an appeal. In April of last year, the Kansas Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and the Commission, calling the three-part design price discriminatory and sending the matter back to the KCC for further proceedings.
In issuing today’s order, the Commission rejected two alternate proposals from Evergy to recoup DG customer costs that the company claims are not captured in the standard residential rate. The first proposal called for the implementation of a grid access fee of $3.00 per kW of installed DG capacity. The alternative called for a $35 minimum monthly bill for all residential customers. As a result of today’s action, rates for standard residential and DG residential customers will be identical, at least until Evergy’s next scheduled rate case in 2023.
“Many states, including Kansas, are struggling to appropriately value residential DG resources, while ensuring those customers pay their fair share to support the grid. Evergy’s proposals weren’t the right way to address these concerns under current law, but the issue won’t go away. We need to look for new solutions,” said KCC Chairperson Andrew French.
The commission encouraged Evergy to explore modern rate designs that address the DG subsidization issue in future rate cases. The commission also encouraged all stakeholders that participated in the proceeding to explore legislative changes to modernize Kansas’ net metering laws and other statutes.