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Proposed electric rates for solar find few supporters

January 8, 2021 GMT

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Regulators are getting a flood of complaints as the state’s largest electric utility tries to come up with a new plan for recovering the cost of providing solar energy.

Evergy was sent back to the drawing board after the Kansas Supreme Court ruled last spring that utilities cannot charges customers who produce some of their own energy more than other customers.

From Oct. 15 to Dec. 21, the Kansas Corporation Commission received more than 1,000 calls, emails and letters, all but about 20 of them opposed to the alternative plans that are being considered, The Wichita Eagle reports.

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Evergy’s preferred proposal is a grid access fee, which would really only apply to those who have a solar array. Evergy’s second rate proposal is a $35 minimum bill for all customers.

The third proposal was presented by the Citizen’s Utility Ratepayer Board, a state agency tasked with advocating for Kansas residents. CURB wants Evergy to charge all customers, solar and non-solar the same, at least temporarily until a new rate structure can be planned with input from the Legislature.

Some critics say the proposed rate changes would discourage the use of solar energy; others say solar energy is being subsidized by other customers.