New KCP&L fuel adjustment charges go into effect this month

Map of the three service territories that KCP&L operates. | Courtesy of KCP&L
Map of the three service territories that KCP&L operates. | Courtesy of KCP&L

Kansas City Power & Light customers across a large swath of western Missouri will see an increase in their electric bills starting this month.

The Missouri Public Service Commission last month approved a request by Kansas City Power and Light Greater Missouri Operations Company, a subsidiary of Great Plains Energy, to raise its fuel adjustment rate.

There are almost 315,000 customers in the service area, which covers counties as far north as Atchison and Harrison and as far south as Vernon and Barton.

The Greater Missouri Operations Company has two separate rate jurisdictions. Typical clients in the “MPS” service area, which was formerly served by Missouri Public Service and includes some areas surrounding Kansas City, will be charged approximately $1.88 extra per month. Customers in the “L&P” territory, which includes the St. Joseph area, will see an increase of about $0.94 per month, according to a press release from the Missouri Public Service Commission.

The fuel adjustment clause allows a company to recover up to 95 percent of the change in fuel and power costs from its customers without adjusting the general rate. The charge, which must appear in a separate category on electric bills, is based on the company’s costs of fuels used in production, as well as any power it had to purchase externally, said Kevin Kelly, public information administrator for the PSC. Companies file fuel adjustment rates twice per year.

“Having mechanisms like fuel adjustment laws allow us to more accurately and timely track expenses,” KCP&L Spokesperson Courtney Hughley said. “It is a more transparent way for us to cover our cost and is a smoother process than a rate increase.”

The commission first approved KCP&L GMO’s fuel adjustment charge in 2007. The most recent fuel charge increase was based on costs from June through November of last year, according to a press release from the commission. In that period, the company’s true-up fuel cost, or cost above the expected cost, amounted to almost $37,000 for its MPS service area and almost $90,000 for its L&P service area, according to the commission’s approval order.

The Missouri Public Service Commission regulates four electric utility companies in the state – KCP&L, KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company, Ameren Missouri and Empire District Electric Company. All companies currently have approved fuel adjustment charge tariffs besides KCP&L, which included a fuel adjustment charge in its most recent rate request, Kelly said. In late April, the Commission will hold public hearings on the company’s rate request.

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