Evergy, Inc. (Evergy), the new parent company of Westar Energy, Inc. (Westar) and Kansas City Power & Light Company (KCP&L), along with the Staff of the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC or Commission) and the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board (CURB) made a compliance filing outlining a new process for filing forward-looking capital expenditure plans and Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs).
Capital Plan Report
First, the joint proposal by Evergy, KCC staff, and CURB would have Evergy file a Capital Plan Report on February 28 of each year. The Capital Plan Report would include the following:
- Summary of Evergy’s projected capital investments over a five-year period
- Detailed breakdown of its projected capital investments over the next year
- Comparison of the prior year projections versus actual investments over that time period
Interested parties will have an opportunity to review the Capital Plan Report and identify any concerns regarding the Capital Plan. While the proposed framework calls for the Commission to issue an order on each Capital Plan Report, such order will not constitute approval or rejection of the Capital Plan. In other words, ultimate approval of the costs incurred by Evergy’s operating utilities will still be determined in backwards-looking, traditional rate cases.
Integrated Resource Plan
Second, the joint proposal would have Evergy make an IRP filing every three years, with annual updates in the intervening years. The initial IRP filing would be made on July 1, 2020 with future triennial filings made three months after each subsequent Missouri IRP filing. The purpose of the IRP filings is to present the utility’s preferred portfolio of resources. Under the proposal, Evergy would submit the following:
- Demand and supply forecasts based on near-term expectations
- Demand and supply forecasts based on medium-run forecasts (i.e. 10-15 years out), with a baseline case and alternative scenario analysis including the following:
- Increased use of distributed generation
- Rapid increase in the use of electric vehicles
- Energy efficiency adoption
- Macroeconomic fluctuations
- Changes in regulatory requirements
- Changes in technology (including wind, solar, energy efficiency and energy storage)
While the joint proposal includes a process for interested parties to review and comment on the IRP filing, there is no deadline for the Commission to make a determination on the IRP filing or specifically approve the preferred resource plan.
The proposed framework summarized above is subject to review and approval by the KCC. The compliance filing was made on March 1, 2019, but due to error, was not served on parties to the Westar/KCP&L merger docket until March 27, 2019. Interested parties typically may respond to filings at the Commission within 10 days, but will likely be granted additional time to respond to this compliance filing due to the error in service. Whether any parties file responses and how the Commission rules on the proposed framework will be worth monitoring, as it could impact the operations of the region’s dominant public utility company.