Sierra Club Asks KCC to Open Data on KCP&L Rate Hike

The following is a press release from the Kansas Chapter of the Sierra Club, May 11, 2005


The Kansas Chapter of the Sierra Club filed yesterday a challenge to the Kansas Corporation Commission’s grant of confidentiality for certain key data submitted with KCP&L’s large rate hike plan.  The data in question covers KCP&L’s cost comparisons for generating power by burning coal or natural gas, and by using wind turbines.

As an official intervener in the proceedings, the Sierra Club has the right to see this data, but its attorney and consultants must sign an agreement not to disclose this information to the public.  In March, KCP&L concluded an agreement with the staff of the Missouri Public Service Commission calling for a hike in electricity rates of up to 20%.  The Sierra Club expects a request of similar magnitude for Kansas.

“This data is fundamental to the public’s ability to assess the justification for such a large rate hike as well as KCP&L’s choice of power generation techniques, said Brooks Albery, Chair of the Kansas Chapter Energy Committee, “We are not asking for anything more than what Westar, Inc. disclosed, for their service area, to the Kansas State Senate Utility Committee on Feb. 1 of this year.”   The Chapter also asserts that the disclosure of this information is not likely to harm the economic interests of KCP&L.

This week Westar announced its own request for a (smaller) rate hike.  While they are not proposing any new generating capacity for their service area, their analysis of bids from 13 wind power developers yielded a cost of only 2.5 to 3.0 cents per KWH. (See Westar website, rate review section, Q&A on environment.)  This compares to their estimate of 4.65 cents per KWH for a new coal-fired power plant contained in their presentation to the Kansas Senate committee.

For more information contact Charles Benjamin, Chapter Attorney and Legislative Director at 1-785-841-5902 or  The Sierra Club, with 800,000 members nationwide, is the largest grassroots environmental organization in the US.

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