Distributed Generation Docket


What is the Docket?  

The Kansas Corporation Commission has opened a docket to examine rate designs for distributed generation customers. The Commission is accepting public comments on the issues discussed in the case through 5:00 p.m. on May 26, 2017.  

CEP is hosting a series of Live streamed videos on this topic.  Check them all out on on our Facebook page, or select the ones you want to watch below.  


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What is Distributed Generation?

Distributed generation (DG) is the term generally applied to the concept that customers can self-produce electricity in small quantities to reduce their monthly utility bills. Small wind turbines or rooftop solar are two examples of DG Systems.

Electricity structures are changing.  Traditionally, electricity is generated at large, central power plants far from customers.  Distributed Generation allows customers to generate some of their own electricity, respond to prices, reduce demand or store electricity for later use.  These changes will continue as the price of solar systems become more affordable.  

With less than 700 DG systems across the state - less than 1/10th of 1 percent of electricity generation -  Kansas is in a fortunate position to thoughtfully consider rate plans that work for utilities and the customers they serve, while ensuring that the growing solar and small wind industry is protected.

Why it matters.

KCC decisions impact energy prices.  DG customers, utilities, and the growing solar and distributed wind industry deserve to have fair rate plans. A comprehensive and forward thinking investigation on DG would provide the necessary groundwork to plan for the future of electricity regulations in Kansas.

With such a small amount of DG in Kansas, there is time to do this right. The KCC has the opportunity to go beyond the traditional, sometimes confrontational rate-case proceedings by actively engaging stakeholders on the changing electricity models involving Distributed Generation, increased energy efficiency, demand response, electric vehicles and even storage.

Two points at issue.

Rates now and in the future: In 2015, Westar asked the KCC to significantly change their rate design for residential customers who generate their own energy.  To settle the case, Westar and parties, including CEP, agreed and the KCC ordered that these changes would be deferred to a generic docket. The Commission opened Docket number 16-GIME-403-GIE to have a "thorough and thoughtful” discussion of the benefits and costs of distributed generation to determine whether a separate rate class for DG customers was necessary and if so, how it would be structured.

Impacts to DG customers and non DG customers: At issue is what cost impacts, if any, do DG customers have on non-DG customers and if there is a net cost or net benefit to the utility system.

Good work takes time.  

CEP is advocating for a open and transparent process to thoroughly and thoughtfully determine what our energy future should look like.

Rushing the process may have long lasting and unintended consequences including slowing deployment of emerging technology, discouraging innovation, reducing customer control over electricity costs, and disproportionately harming low-use and low-income customers.

As evolving electricity rate-design issues are being discussed across the country, some common themes for good processes are emerging:

  1. Good rate design should include transparent, fair, accessible and accountable process.

  2. It should be based on credible data and transparent modeling that are publicly available.

  3. It should have a good sense of timing (do we need to act immediately because of high penetration or can we take a more measured approach?)

  4. Good rate design processes should involve collaboration, even if it takes longer.

Even with low levels of distributed energy resources, the Commission should plan for the future, to have the tools in place when it is ready to put new rates in place. Proactive planning puts the commission (and stakeholders) on a path for a smoother future transition

How to Engage

The public comment period has ended.

The commission hearing will take place on June 27th.  

Stay tuned for details!