Kansas Solar Customers Will Get Refunds!

Guest blog from Climate + Energy Project

Yesterday during their regular business meeting, the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) unanimously voted to require Evergy to refund solar customers for demand charges, stating in the order “upon further review of the legal authority cited by the Solar Group, the Commission is persuaded DG customers are entitled to refunds.”

In February, the KCC struck down Evergy’s proposed grid access fee and $35 minimum bill, but did not grant our refund request. CEP, Vote Solar and Sierra Club asked the Commission in March to reconsider their initial refusal to issue refunds and in today’s order, they agreed. Evergy will be required to give refunds to customers who were placed on the Distributed Generation Residential Standard (RSDG) rate based on what they would have paid on the Residential Standard (RS) rate.  Generally, utilities have 30 days to comply with a Commission order. This is a huge win for solar advocates across Kansas.

In her remarks, Commissioner Susan Duffy said, “I do hope the parties take this time to look at more modern ways to grapple with this issue”.

Chairman French added, “I think we need to look at new ways to address this issue – other states have done Value of Solar studies, which does not presuppose an outcome. We need a modern, holistic approach and we should look at this from a different angle.”

It was clear from the order that the Commission wants stakeholders to come together and determine how to move forward.

Additionally, solar advocates requested that solar customers be allowed to choose any Residential Standard (RS) rate, Evergy agreed to change their tariff to allow solar users to sign up for any rate except the Time of Use (TOU) pilot, stating complexity with that rate and net-metering. The Commission agreed with their offer.

In response to the Electric Companies’ Petition for Reconsideration and Clarification, the Commission provided clarification that only an added service – such as exporting – will justify an added fee such as the proposed grid access charge, making it more difficult for Evergy to add discriminatory charges to solar customers going forward.

This is a big win for Evergy Central customers, however, now it’s time for Evergy to remove demand charges from the rest of their Kansas customers as well!  CEP and our Clean Energy Business Council members stand ready to work with the Commission and other stakeholders to find a path forward for solar power in Kansas. Thanks again for weighing in and making your voices heard!

JOIN THE MOVEMENT Sign up for updates from Vote Solar on solar progress and energy justice across the U.S.