What incredible timing. News of Kansas City Power & Light Co.’s plan to seek a 15.8 percent rate increase stunned consumers on Halloween.
The electric company’s reach deeper into people’s pocket will amount to about a $14 monthly increase for the average residential customer, The Kansas City Star reports. KCP&L says it needs the $121 million a year rate request to recover the cost of the environmental upgrades at its La Cygne, Kan., coal fired plant.
The money would pay for installing scrubbers to reduce air pollution. It will take 25 years for KCP&L customers to cover their share of the cost. That would make the average customer’s added cost close to $1,000.
The rate request if approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission would likely go into effect in September 2015 and cover 270,000 of the utility’s 565,000 Missouri customers, which includes most of Kansas City.
A drawback of KCP&L pinching people now for more money is that people today have choices. The rate increase request with more likely to come will make more customers who can invest in solar do so sooner rather than later to get off the energy grid completely. Higher utility rates make a big investment in renewables — especially with tax credits — more economically sound.
The solar Investment Tax Credit is “a 30 percent tax credit for solar systems on residential (under Section 25D) and commercial (under Section 48) properties,” the Solar Energy Industries Association reports on its website.
The multiple-year extension of the residential and commercial solar Investment Tax Credit has helped annual solar installation grow by more than 1,600 percent since the tax credit was implemented in 2006 — a compound annual growth rate of 76 percent, the website notes. “The existence of the ITC through 2016 provides market certainty for companies to develop long-term investments that drive competition and technological innovation, which in turn, lowers costs for consumers.”
Those rooftops in the Kansas City area will start to look more and more suited for solar collectors.