On May 27, 2021, Liberty filed a request with the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) to adjust electric base rates. The new rates would take effect in 2022 and reflect Liberty’s efforts to better serve customers through the transition to clean, less expensive renewable energy and investments to strengthen and modernize infrastructure and systems.
If approved by regulators, the rate adjustment in 2022 for Liberty’s investments would cost average Liberty Kansas electric customers approximately $4.97 per month, or 4.47%, based on a little less than 1,000 kilowatt-hours of usage per month.
A rate case is a public regulatory review process in which a utility must demonstrate to its state public service commission why a proposed change in rates is needed. This independent public process helps ensure transparency and fair rates based on the costs to serve customers.
Liberty is required to provide every customer in our service area with safe and reliable electricity at rates approved by the public service commission of each state. In exchange, the utility is allowed the opportunity (not a guarantee) to earn a fair return for investors. Even though our regulators will ultimately determine any changes to customer rates, we pledge to do our part to keep rates as reasonable as possible.
First, Liberty must demonstrate to state utility regulators why a rate change is needed. The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) and other interested stakeholders review our filings and vet the company's request. The KCC then thoroughly reviews our request and holds public hearings to allow customers to comment. This process could take up to 12 months.
Liberty offers programs to encourage energy efficiency and assist our limited-income customers. Liberty also provides flexible payment options to customers who may be experiencing financial hardship. During the pandemic, this included moratoriums on service disconnections, expanded payment programs, and connecting customers to additional community and government resources to assist them.
Transitioning to clean, renewable energy to save customers money over the long term compared to other energy generation. This includes Liberty’s recently completed 600-megawatt wind energy project consisting of three wind farms: North Fork Ridge and Kings Point in Southwest Missouri and Neosho Ridge Wind in Southeast Kansas.
Ensuring customers continue to experience safe, dependable energy through investments in infrastructure to bolster reliability and strengthen our system against the impacts of extreme weather events. This includes improving safety and reliability by replacing more than 400 aging and deteriorating poles and minimizing the impact of outages on customers and speeding restoration by adding a service center in Baxter Springs and sectionalizing 16 circuits. These circuits were some of the worst performing circuits in our system, and these upgrades benefit approximately 95% of our Kansas customers. We’re also reducing outages caused by wildlife, the second leading cause of outages, while protecting the birds and animals that interfere with our system by installing more than 400 wildlife guards.