Advocates to Gather for Save Kansas Solar Rally Before KCC Hearing in Wichita

11 months ago | Jun 28, 2018
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Proposed Westar Energy Rate Changes Create Concerns Among Clean Energy Supporters

HUTCHINSON, KS - Solar energy advocates, including Kansas legislators and solar company representatives, will gather for a Save Kansas Solar rally Thursday, June 28, in Wichita.

The Save Kansas Solar rally will begin at 4:30 p.m. in room 180 at WSU's Hughes Metropolitan Complex, enter the building through entrance "N”. Legislators and solar advocates will speak during the rally press conference at 5:30 p.m., and public comments will be collected and shared with the KCC.

The Kansas Corporation Commission will meet at 6 p.m. in the Lowe Auditorium at the Hughes Metropolitan Complex to hear public comment on Westar Energy’s rate case proposal. Westar Energy has asked the KCC to approve a combined rate case (docket 18-WSEE-328-RTS) that would increase the monthly service fee and electric rates for all customers and add a tariff for some solar customers.

The rate case would:

  • Increase the standard monthly service fee for all customers by $4, climbing to $18.50.
  • Mean an average bill increase of 50% for residential solar customers who installed on or after October 28, 2015.
  • Institute new rates for electric vehicle owners.

"The proposed rate increase would make solar energy uneconomical for most Kansas customers and eliminate incentives for Kansans to self-generate their electricity and move toward cleaner sources of energy,” said Dorothy Barnett, executive director of the Climate + Energy Project. "Kansas is among the top states for solar energy potential, which could bring high-quality new jobs to our state, but this proposal would harm the solar industry.”

Aron Cromwell, owner of Cromwell Solar in Lawrence, will be among the solar advocates speaking at the rally. "The Westar-proposed penalties for solar customers are a baseless attempt to eliminate free competition, would kill good jobs for Kansans, and would restrict the freedom of Kansans to create some of their own energy on their own property,” he said. "We hope Kansans from throughout the state will join us June 28 in Wichita to show the KCC that solar energy has strong support in our state.”

Those unable to attend the Wichita hearing can submit public comments to the KCC until 5 p.m. July 18. They may be submitted online, by phone at 1-800-662-0027, or by snail mail.

The KCC had an initial public hearing May 22 in Topeka, and some attendees encouraged commissioners to schedule another hearing in Wichita to give residents in that area an opportunity to comment on the case.