Kansas Corporation Commission opens investigations into effects of weather emergency

The Kansas Corporation Commission this morning opened seven company specific investigations pertaining to the effects of the February weather emergency.

Kansas Gas Service and Atmos Energy, which serve natural gas customers in Wyandotte County, are included in the seven companies. Also included is Evergy, which serves some residents of Bonner Springs and Edwardsville.

The investigations will examine each utility’s proposals to minimize financial effects of the February weather emergency on its customers, according to a news release.

The high demand, along with generation facility issues due to cold weather, created supply shortages and extraordinarily high energy prices, according to the KCC An emergency order issued by the KCC on Feb. 15 ordered regulated utilities to defer those costs for review and to present a plan to minimize ratepayer impact over a reasonable time, the KCC stated.

The investigations will also address the cause of reduced natural gas supplies, high natural gas prices, supply and demand imbalances in the Southwest Power Pool Integrated Market, and what steps can be taken to make sure utilities are better prepared for future extreme weather events, according to the KCC.

The BPU is not included in the companies being investigated. The Kansas Corporation Commission does not have jurisdiction over the Board of Public Utilities, which serves electric customers in Kansas City, Kansas, because the BPU is a public utility with an elected board.

A report and recommendation filed by KCC staff on March 1 stated that company specific investigatory dockets would allow staff to tailor its investigation to match each utility’s unique circumstances.

Today’s order can be viewed at http://estar.kcc.ks.gov/estar/ViewFile.aspx?Id=8360b142-9f83-4d64-af94-06a09d85daf7.

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