The Kansas Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities, ruled that the investor-owned Westar and KCPL did not have to provide opt opportunities for customers opposed to "smart meters" or Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI).
This was an issue in the recent Independence debate which was settled when a 5-2 council majority voted not to proceed with AMI.
The ruling since it "found no health, safety, or privacy risks or legitimate threats faced from the use of AMI meters, it makes little sense to mandate that Kansas public utilities create a new program for such a small subset of customers."
Low-income residents are energy-burden spending large share of their available incomes spent on energy bills.
The high energy bills may be due to lack of weatherization, older inefficient utilities or older houses constructed before improved building codes.
One market-based approach was shared during a recent Indy Energy forum by Philip Fracica with Renew Mo.
This particular program is Pay As You Save® ("PAYS®") which allows utilities to invest in energy efficiency upgrades on the customer side of the meter and assure immediate net savings to the customer. (See the video).
Energy-saving upgrades are installed in a customer's home or building, but the utility pays the up-front cost of the installed energy-saving measures. To recover its costs, the utility puts a fixed charge on the customer's electric bill that is significantly less than the estimated energy savings from the upgrades.
The customer sees immediate net annual savings by incurring less expense for energy while paying a fixed charge that is below the total estimated energy savings.
The city has issues a proposals for green energy initiatives and perhaps some additional projects for the community solar farm at the former Rockwood golf courses.
Details of the potential projects are outlined in a city Request for Proposal which was issued Oct. 18th.
The proposals asks for energy conservation measures for various city facilities through updating “outdated and obsolete building & equipment” with the idea to reduce annual utility costs. Potential city buildings listed include fire stations, city hall and other city-owned and operated buildings.
It also requests proposals for solar power at the Courtney Bend Water Treatment Plant and ancillary solar facilities adjacent to the Rockwood community solar farm.
The City Council approved a two-year contract extension with Strategic Capitol Consulting to lobby on behalf of Independence Power and Light at the state capitol in Jefferson City.
The proposed contract increases the contract from the current $66,000 per year to $120,000 per year, or $10,000 a month. The current contract expires Oct. 30th.
The lobbying firm is lead by Steve Tilley, a well-connected lobbyist and former Speaker of the House of Representatives. IPL previously did not have its own lobbyist, but stated it needed assistance on major utility issues.
The City Council also approved a separate lobbying contract with John Bardgett & Associates which also will be paid $120,000 - an increase from $90,000 under its current contract which expires Aug. 31.