Evergy proposes price increase for solar panel customers, holds virtual public forum
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -- Evergy, the largest electric utility in Kansas, is proposing to charge households with solar panels about $25 a month to recover the cost of providing solar energy.
The proposed new rate design follows the Kansas Supreme Court's April 3, 2020 ruling that Evergy rates for customers with solar panels do not align with state law.
The company has proposed a grid access fee of $3 per month per kilowatt of installed private generation capacity. If the plan is rejected, Evergy will propose charging all customers a minimum of $35 a month, including customers who do not use solar panels to make up for the cost.
The plan would not affect Kansans who already pay more than $35 on energy bills each month; however, families with a lower income who do not use $35 of energy each month would face a cost increase.
Solar installation business owners and solar advocates argue the plans invite legal action, target already-vulnerable Kansans, and discourage residents from turning to renewable energy. The Kansas Corporation Commission held a virtual public hearing Thursday night to hear from citizens across the state. Dozens attended the virtual meeting to voice opposition to the company's proposals.
"I immediately thought about our seniors and students who are struggling and asking them to pay a minimum of $35 dollars a month is probably not fair," said Manhattan Resident Brenda Oppert.