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Kansas regulators want answers on Evergy’s planned projects

November 24, 2021 GMT

Kansas energy regulators are asking whether billions of dollars in planned energy projects by a company serving 1.6 million customers in Kansas and Missouri will lead to unnecessary electric rate increases.

The Kansas Corporation Commission on Tuesday ordered Evergy to explain by Feb. 28 the $10.4 billion in expenditures it plans through 2025, the Lawrence Journal-World reports.

The state’s chief utility regulator issued the order after a months-long review of a “sustainability transformation plan” that Evergy announced last year. Evergy has said the plan is needed to improve reliability of its electric service and to better position the company for the future. Others argue that the plan was too heavily influenced by activist investor Elliott Management, which owns hundreds of millions of dollars in Evergy stock and is simply seeking to boost the company’s stock value.

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The commission did not rule on the Evergy transformation plan and took no action to stop its implementation. The KCC board told Evergy not to prioritize shareholder interests over ratepayer interests.

The Kansas Industrial Consumers Group says Evergy’s plan would mean a 10% to 11% rate increase by 2024.

Evergy says the group is wrong, and noted residential rates decreased 6.5% and industrial rates decreased 1.8% from 2017 to 2019.

A spokeswoman for Evergy said the company is reviewing the KCC’s most recent order as it determines next steps.