Some Kansans are about to realize credits that reduce their monthly utility bills.
The Kansas Corporation Commission approved agreements with Atmos Energy and Black Hills Energy that will result in their customers receiving credits on their monthly utility bills.
According to a press release from the KCC, Atmos’ residential customers will see an
average annual reduction of $18.56. It will appear as a credit on their monthly bills. Black Hills’ residential customers will receive an average annual credit of $11.57 to appear on monthly bills.
The agreement requires energy providers to pass on to customers savings they received from federal tax reform. The new tax law reduced utility tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent. Customers of both energy companies will also receive a one-time credit to repay the savings utility companies accrued for the first three months of the year.
Commission staff evaluated the tax savings on a case-by-case basis to determine the impact on each company’s rates and ensure that Kansas customers receive the credits owed them. The Commission opened a general investigation on January 18 requiring utilities under its jurisdiction to track savings resulting from the federal tax reform and maintain those funds in a separate interest bearing regulatory account.
Several Kansas utility companies, including Wester Energy, Kansas City Power and Light and Black Hills Energy, announced they would seek to lower their rates after the U.S. Congress passed reform that lowered their tax rates. Gov. Jeff Colyer, then the lieutenant governor, sent letters to utility companies requesting that they pass their tax savings onto customers. He took credit for some rate cuts in a news release.
“I am extremely encouraged by the response my letter has received from the Kansas utility community,” Colyer said in a news release. “Black Hills Energy, KCP&L and Westar understand, just as I do, how much energy costs affect every household in Kansas.”
Gubernatorial candidates Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and House Minority Leader Jim Ward also issued statements pressuring utility companies to share their savings.
Both Ward and Kobach said in a release that tax reform marked a “windfall” for Kansas public utilities.
“When utility companies receive a windfall, they owe a duty to the public to return that revenue by lowering rates,” Kobach said.
“Rather than pad stakeholders’ pockets, Kansas ratepayers should get that money back,” Ward wrote in a Facebook post.