07 Dec KCC makes favorable decision in Evergy rate case
This summer, Renew Kansas Biofuels Association joined with Kansas Corn, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and Fuel True in requesting intervention in a matter before the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) in which Evergy proposed to increase utility rates in order to recover future costs associated with the large-scale installation of electric vehicle charging stations. Renew Kanas joined a petition to intervene where it asked KCC to deny Evergy’s proposed rate increase to pay for EV charging stations.
The KCC has denied Evergy’s proposal to expand its network of more than 900 public charging stations, including 29 across Kansas, 267 in the Kansas City area and more than 600 in Missouri. Evergy had proposed spending about $13 million to add about 100 charging stations to its network in Kansas, and it had requested preapproval to seek recovery of those investments from ratepayers.
The company noted that its public-charging station network supports nearly 8,000 electric vehicles drivers with that number expected to grow. Evergy said it has seen significant growth in adoption of electric vehicles in the Kansas City area where its public-charging stations primarily exist compared to the rest of the state. “Our experience has taught us that establishing a robust charging network is key to increasing electric vehicle adoption,” Evergy wrote in a filing with the state.
The commission, however, thought it was premature to allow Evergy to expand its charging station network, given the availability of federal money earmarked for electric vehicle charging stations. Kansas is already expected to receive $40 million over five years to install charging station across the state. Kansas also can apply for $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to electric vehicle charging in the bill. In addition, the state is exploring ways for spending about $2 million on charging stations from money it received from claims against the automaker Volkswagen for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.
Regulators denied Evergy’s request to expand its charging-station network because of a lack of strong evidence that utility companies need to invest in charging stations. “Chief among these uncertainties are an imminent, large federal investment in EV charging infrastructure and a nascent competitive charging market in Kansas,” the commission ruled.
The commission, however, did not rule out the possibility that Evergy could one day play an important part in providing charging stations for electric vehicles. “The commission does not find expansion is per se imprudent or that there is no role for Evergy to provide public EV charging infrastructure,” the regulators said in their order. “The Commission believes there may be a role for Evergy to fill gaps left by the competitive charging marketplace and the federal infrastructure legislation.”
“Depending on the response of unregulated providers of charging services, this gap-filling role may become necessary to support growth in demand and ensure EV customers in Evergy’s service territories receive sufficient service.”