KCC Approves Southern Pioneer’s Plan to Recover Winter Storm Costs
Joe Denoyer - March 17, 2022 11:04 am
TOPEKA – The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) has approved Southern Pioneer Electric Company’s plan for recovering $17 million in deferred February 2021 winter storm costs. The not-for-profit utility, like others regulated by the KCC, was ordered to do everything possible to continue providing utility 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.
Under the plan approved today, customers will have the option of paying their individual costs for the winter weather event over a period of 36 months, instead of a one-time payment. The monthly charge for residential customers with average usage will be $7.89 per month, plus a carrying charge of 2.14%, which represents Southern Pioneer’s actual cost of financing for these costs. Since costs are allocated based on individual usage, customers who conserved energy during the winter storm will see lower costs for their efforts. In addition, individual customers will have the option of paying off their remaining balance of the winter storm charges at any time, to prevent further accumulation of carrying costs.
Today’s order acknowledges that while no customer welcomes bill increases, the three-year repayment period and low cost carrying charges provide some relief to ratepayers. Additionally, any government assistance received or recovery of costs through federal or state investigations into price gouging, market manipulation or civil suit resulting from the weather event will be passed on to customers.
Southern Pioneer serves approximately 17,000 customers in southwest and south central Kansas.
This is the fifth winter payment plan approved by the Commission. Plans were previously approved for American Energies Gas Service, the City of Eskridge, Black Hills Energy and Kansas Gas Service. KCC staff is currently evaluating plans submitted by Evergy. Atmos Energy’s settlement agreement is currently undergoing Commission review. Empire Electric District has not yet filed a plan.