Kansas City Power & Light Company and KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company (GMO, formerly Aquila, Inc.), subsidiaries of Great Plains Energy Incorporated (NYSE: GXP), today filed rate increase requests with the Missouri Public Service Commission (MPSC) to increase base rates for electric service in its three Missouri service areas. KCP&L’s average retail electric rates range between 10% and 29% below the national average. The rate increase request process takes approximately 11 months in Missouri. New rates are anticipated to be effective in late January 2013.
“We strive to provide the most reliable electric service possible while keeping our rates well below the national average,” said Terry Bassham, KCP&L President and Chief Operating Officer. “The costs to produce and reliably deliver electricity in our region have increased significantly. We know any rate increase impacts our customers, so we have worked hard to minimize the amount of our requests by aggressively managing our costs. We have reduced our operating costs by millions of dollars through reducing our workforce, maintaining operating budgets and creating more efficient work processes throughout our company.”
Despite cost savings measures implemented by KCP&L over the last several years, the costs of doing business have outpaced the company’s ability to maintain its current rates. Among the drivers for the increase are the significant investments the company has made to replace aging infrastructure. These upgrades were needed in order to maintain reliability and reduce outage times. The company also continues to make investments to ensure compliance with state and federal renewable energy and environmental mandates.
Customer ProgramsKCP&L recognizes that any cost increase presents challenges for customers, particularly low-income and senior customers or those on a fixed income. As a result, KCP&L is seeking to expand its popular Economic Relief Program as a part of this rate increase request. Launched in 2010, the Economic Relief Program was designed to offer bill payment assistance to low-income customers and offers a credit of up to $50 per month for 2,000 qualifying Missouri customers in need of financial assistance. Customers must meet the income requirements and be current on their bill. Currently, the program is scheduled to end in September 2012. If the expanded program is approved, KCP&L will more than double the number of openings in the program and include a focus on senior citizens.