All three provisions were approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission on Wednesday after the company reached agreements with other groups in September.
“A lot of people were at the table. We would credit all of those parties for coming up with reasonable solutions to some of the problems we had,” said James Owen, executive director of Renew Missouri.
Owen said he was “ultimately happy” with the lower rates, the alternative plan designed around power peaks and the solar energy program for residential users.
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A KCP&L spokeswoman said the company was reviewing the state’s official order.
The Missouri Public Service Commission said the rate cuts grew out of the company’s request in January for rate increases. Lower rates reflect, in part, the benefit the companies received from a lower corporate tax rate.
Not all KCP&L customers will see the same rate reductions.
Former Aquila customers, called KCP&L’s General Missouri Operations in the agreements, will see their electricity rates fall by 3.2 percent, for a total of $24 million among 323,500 customers in 31 counties.
Other KCP&L customers will see rates cut by 1.4 percent, spreading $21 million among 284,500 customers in 13 counties.
The cuts come after many customers enrolled in KCP&L’s Budget Billing program saw higher regular bills — 900 of them by more than $100 a month — as the program changed this summer. Customers who use the program to level out their bills throughout the year have complained that the changes wrecked their ability to budget.
Those Budget Billing increases were tied to changes in the billing program and not to a general change in electricity rates. KCP&L said the rates reductions coming in December would help Budget Billing customers.
The Missouri Public Service Commission also approved plans for KCP&L to begin offering a few customers subscriptions to buy solar-generated power from the company. The pilot program is similar to one available to Ameren customers in eastern Missouri, Owen said.
Owen said the programs open the solar power option to residents who can’t put up panels themselves, perhaps because they rent or live in a condominium. He said KCP&L essentially will try to sell enough solar power subscriptions to justify generating power with solar energy.
Another provision approved setting up an alternative to current rate plans. The new offer would base rates on the time of day power was used, essentially charging more for power during peak usage times.
This “time of use” rate would be available alongside the existing traditional rate structures. KCP&L would begin to offer the alternative billing plan in October 2019.