For more information contact: Peter Barstad, KCC Legislative Liaison (785) 271-3188
June 1, 2023
KCC approves settlement agreement allowing Liberty-Empire to recover winter storm costs over time
TOPEKA - The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) has approved a settlement agreement outlining how The Empire District Electric Company d/b/a Liberty Utilities (Liberty-Empire) will recover $10.8 million in extraordinary costs incurred during the February 2021 Winter Storm Uri. The utility, like others regulated by the KCC, was ordered to do everything possible to continue providing service to its customers, defer the charges, and then develop a plan to allow customers to pay the unusually high costs over time to minimize the financial impact.
The settlement, negotiated by KCC Staff, the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board (CURB) and the company allows Liberty-Empire customers to pay for the extraordinary costs –associated with the Winter Event over a 13-year period from June 1, 2023 through May 31, 2036. On average, residential customer bills will increase by $5.73 per month during this period. This is a reduction from Liberty-Empire’s originally requested plan which would have resulted in an increase in the average residential bill of $7.32 per month.
The Commission emphasized it was in the public interest for Liberty-Empire to incur the extraordinary costs to ensure the integrity of the electric system and provide continuous service to its customers.
Today’s order states that any proceeds received by Liberty-Empire from ongoing federal or state investigations into market manipulation, price gouging or civil suits will be passed on to customers.
In issuing today’s order, the Commission found the agreement was supported by substantial competent evidence, will result in just and reasonable rates, and is in the public interest. The Commission’s order in this docket is the last of the Uri-related utility dockets to be filed and acted on.
Today’s order is available here.
A recording of today’s Business Meeting featuring comments by Commissioners on this order, is available on the KCC YouTube channel.