KCP&L plan shifts to efficiency, seeks payback for saving energy
Kansas City Power & Light, in a historic shift for the utility, filed plans Thursday with Missouri regulators to sell less electricity.
The company, like other utilities in the region, has depended on selling electricity to recover its costs and earn a profit. Building more power plants was the gauge for its success. Its conservation efforts, such as rebates to customers for buying energy-efficient air-conditioners, were pilot programs and not part of KCP&L’s long-term plans.
But the company says it’s time for a change, for energy efficiency to take on a more serious role. So its latest plan takes advantage of new Missouri regulations that make it possible for utilities to curb consumption and not be penalized financially.
And customers, though they might pay higher rates initially to help cover the upfront costs of conservation efforts, are expected to eventually see lower rates after the efficiencies start paying off.
The combination, say the utility’s officials, convinced them that for the first time energy efficiency should have an official place in its business plans.
“This is different from what we’ve done for 100 years,” said Chuck Caisley, a spokesman for the utility. “This will fundamentally change how electricity is regulated and how we utilize it if regulators accept it.”