KC Utility Companies Gone Wild

August 27, 2012

Empire District Electric Company and KCP&L are looking to increase utility rates for all customers by the end of the year.

Customers in Kansas and Missouri may soon see an increase in their utility bills soon.

The Empire District Electric Company recently filed a rate request with the Missouri Public Service Commission, which approves and regulates increases. Although the company reported $10.7 million in their second quarter earnings, the rate increase will make approximately $30.7 million per year.

President and CEO Brad Beecher was reported saying that the aftermath of the Joplin EF-5 tornado was one of the main reasons for the increase.

“We are seeking recovery of operation and maintenance expenses and capital costs associated with the May 22 tornado as well as increased costs of service post tornado due to the decrease in customers,” Beecher said. If approved, the rate increase would begin December 1.

Empire isn’t the only company seeking an increase. KCP&L proposed a rate hike of nearly 13 percent, which would raise the average power bill for a home by about $150 a year, and small businesses would see an increase of about 10 percent. Large commercial customers would pay 12.9 percent more each month.

KCP&L says the increase is needed to pay for environmental upgrades to their new coal-fired plant currently under construction.

On average, utility rates are rising 6-8 percent annually, which is not a small number to ignore. Businesses can reduce their utility bills by using less electricity with energy efficient lighting and HVAC. Renewable sources of energy including solar and wind are also great options for those looking to save on utilities, and make an environmental impact.

Source: Springfield News-Leader

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