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Updated: 3/27/2019.
PRESS RELEASE:

Clean Energy Business Council Reaches Agreement with Evergy

Both parties find common ground in effort to address residential solar opportunities

TOPEKA, KAN. –  After months of debate in the Kansas statehouse, the Clean Energy Business Council presented to the Senate Utilities committee on Thursday that Evergy had agreed to file a new tariff with the KCC to request that Westar customers with solar installations prior to October 1, 2018, and KCP&L customers with installations prior to December 20, 2018, are grandfathered into the old rate and not subject to the mandatory demand charges.“We appreciate Evergy agreeing to grandfather these customers into the old rate so solar users aren’t impacted by prohibitive rate hikes. We’re now focused on how we can make sure Kansas policies enable future solar customers to affordably access the technology for their homes. Our agreement with Evergy included their commitment to collaborate in the coming months to find reasonable solutions that will allow the industry to grow and we’re looking forward to those discussions,” said Dorothy Barnett, executive director of the Clean Energy Business Council.

Vice Chairman of Senate Utilities Mike Petersen (R-Wichita) told Barnett in committee, “I want to thank you and the industry for getting together and figuring out how to help these folks that made their investments (in solar) and coming to a reasonable solution.”

The Clean Energy Business Council introduced SB 124 to eliminate the demand charges approved by the KCC in the fall. “We’ve agreed to stop pursuit of SB 124 this session so the tariff can be filed and we can work outside of the legislature to address how to value the costs and benefits of residential solar for future customers,” said Barnett.

For more information:
Jessica Lucas – 620-931-7161
Dorothy Barnett – 785-424-0444

Good Energy Solutions thanks everyone who has written testimonies, participated in rallies, and supported the cause of residential solar in Kansas. It will take a submission of the tariff to the KCC, and then 30 days to approve, but the change should happen right away, so hopefully customers will not see the effects of the $9/kW summer demand charges. Please feel free to reach out to Good Energy Solutions if you have any questions.
In addition, Governor Kelly’s nominee for Commissioner of the Kansas Corporation Commission, is Susan Duffy. Susan has been a supporter of transitioning to electric buses that cut costs and pollution.

 



Updated: 2/26/2019. The hearing took place on Monday, Feb. 25. Listen here


A recent Bill, The Energy Fairness Act, could revoke current punitive demand charges for Kansas homeowners with solar in Westar/KCP&L Territory.

Original Post: 2/8/2019:

Customers of Westar/KCP&L with grid-tied connected solar on their homes are currently subject to distributed generation demand charges* on their utility bills. But recently a bill (HB-2190, SB-124) has been introduced to the Kansas House of Representatives and to the Senate. The bill, if passed, would reverse the ruling made in 2018 and actually accomplish two things:

  1. Revoke the punitive charges that were added to residential solar customers and 
  2. Protect solar customers from being singled out again in the future.

Good Energy Solutions is looking for people who are willing to A) write a letter of testimony or B) testify, in person, in front of the Senate Utilities Committee:

  • Are you a residential customer of KCP&L or Westar and live in Kansas?
  • Has the uncertainty in rates (i.e. the new punitive charges) played a part in your decision to not install solar at your home?
  • Are you a solar customer who has been affected by these charges?
If you answered yes to any of these questions and are interested in helping save Kansas Solar and protect energy freedom, please contact Andy Rondon for further instructions. But hurry, letters are due Monday Feb 11 and Oral Testimony will be held in February at the State Capital Building, room 546-S. We’ll keep you updated if you are interested in providing testimony.
*So, what are the demand charges and how did this happen?
During the year of 2018: Vote Solar, The Clean Energy Business Council, The Climate and Energy Project, The Sierra Club, and numerous other solar advocates wrote letters to the Kansas Corporation Commission and spoke at public hearings on behalf of the solar industry and Kansas residents with installed solar. Even though Westar and KCPL are owned by the same company (Evergy), they are still separate utilities with regards to rates and policies. Rates and policies are also different over the state line in Missouri, so these rates due not apply to Missouri customers. Kansas rates are as follows:
Westar
The KCC approved the demand fee as part of the rate case settlement with Westar Energy in the Fall of 2018. After approval, the demand charges went into effect immediately. All Westar customers that had a solar energy system installed on their residential property after October 2015 are now subject to distributed rate demand charges.
The demand for an entire month is determined by the highest 15 minute interval of usage during the hours of 2-7 p.m. Monday-Friday. Customers with solar are charged $9/kW of demand in the summer (June – September) and $3/kW of demand in the winter (October – May)
For Example:
A Residential solar customer’s peak demand is 10 kW on a Friday evening at 6:00. The household is a typical home with two adults and three small children.
June – September
10 kW x $9 = $90 in demand charges each month.
October – May
10 kW x $3 = $30 in demand charges each month.
KCP&L
The KCC approved the settlement agreement for KCP&L in Kansas in December of 2018. The request was not retroactive, so customers with solar energy systems installed before the active date are not affected by the new rate structure. The agreement said Kansas residential customers would see a decrease to electrical rates. However, customers wanting to install solar or a distributed generation energy system are subject to a 3 part rate moving forward.
  1. Summer and Winter demand charges are $9.00/kW and $3.00/kW, respectively
  2. Customer charge will be $14.25
  3. The energy charge is $0.07688 per kWh
  4. Demand measurement shall be a 60-minute intervals
  5. The demand billing period shall be the daily hours of 4:00pm through 8:00pm Central Time, except for weekends, New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day
Paying attention to when various electrical machines are running between the hours of 2:00-7:00 PM and 4:00-8:00 PM (depending on utility) can help reduce demand charges. Spacing out use of appliances and ac/electric heat can help reduce the demand peak load. For example, run your dryer and dishwasher at night after 7:00 (or 8:00, depending on utility). Make sure the air conditioning does not turn on when cooking dinner on an electric stove, put a timer on your electric hot water heater, so it does not run during those hours, etc.  In order to minimize the impact of demand charges, we encourage you to take a look at new technologies including batteries, smart thermostats, energy monitoring aps (like Neurio that monitors and evaluates energy use), etc. This article shares stories that Kansas solar owners are doing to minimize demand charges.
Visit our Facebook page and/or twitter feed to see more information on utility rate structures in Kansas.