Evergy asks Missouri to approve changes to time-based rate plans

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With just weeks until Evergy’s new time-of-use plans take effect for Missouri customers, the utility company is asking the state to approve some major changes.

Evergy said Tuesday it has asked the Missouri Public Service Commission to allow it to modify the plans that the commission mandated.

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Currently, Missouri customers have until October to choose a new time-based rate plan or they’ll be automatically enrolled in the standard plan.

The time-based plans will adjust the rate Evergy customers pay for electricity based on the time of day its used — day of the week and time of year.

But Evergy said it’s making four requests based on feedback from customers and state policymakers.

“Evergy has always advocated for customer rate choice and does not support mandated time-based rates,” Chuck Caisley, Evergy’s chief customer officer, said in a statement Tuesday.

The company said it has requested four changes to its upcoming time-based plans. It’s asking the MPSC to make a decision by the end of September.

Change the default

Evergy has asked the MPSC to let it modify the default plan from the “Standard Peak Saver” to the “Peak Reward Saver.”

The company said it wants to make this change for customers who might not be aware of the switch to time-based plans, might not be able to change when they consume electricity, or might not have access to Evergy’s digital tools and support.

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Under the “Standard Peak Saver” plan, customers will be charged a higher per-kilowatt hour rate from 4-8 p.m. on weekdays from June until September.

According to Evergy’s website, during the summer months from 4-8 p.m. the price of electricity will spike from $0.09 to $0.38 per kilowatt hour (kWh).

But under the “Peak Reward Saver” plan, the price customers pay will change based on the amount of energy used and the season.

The plan establishes pricing tiers based on the time of the year, with rates increasing in the summer months and decreasing in the winter months.

The three-tier pricing plan is based on usage ranging from 600 kWh to more than 1,000 kWh used each month. Once a customer has completely used the energy allotment in one tier, the price changes to the next tier rate.

According to Evergy’s website, pricing during the summer months begins at $0.14 per kWh for the first 1000 kilowatt hours used each month. After the initial 1000 kWh have been used, the price increases to $0.15 per kWh.

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During the winter months, Evergy will charge $0.12 for the first 600 kWh hours used. The price then drops to $0.07 per kWh for the next 400 kWh hours used. The price decreases again to a rate of $0.06 per kWh for the next 1,000 kWh hours used.

Customers will also receive either a credit or an extra charge on their bill based on when they use electricity.

A 1-cent credit will be applied for each kilowatt hour of energy used between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. An extra 1-cent charge will be applied per kilowatt hour for any energy used from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

If Evergy’s request to change the default plan is approved, the company also wants to change the names of the two plans:

“Peak Reward Saver” would change to “Default Time Based” plan, the new default, and the “Standard Peak Saver” would change to “Summer Peak Time Based” plan.

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There are two other time-based rate plans available — the “Nights and Weekends Saver” and the “Nights and Weekends Max Saver.”

Bring back a traditional ‘anytime plan’

Evergy also wants the MPSC to let it bring back a traditional rate plan that is not time-based, like it currently offers.

“Evergy has always advocated for customer choice and believes a traditional non-time-based rate plan should still be an option for customers who may not be able to make the shifts in electricity usage needed to be successful on a time-based rate plan during summer months,” the company said in a release.

If the MPSC approved an “anytime plan,” Evergy hopes to bring it back before summer 2024, it said.

Update how often customers can switch

The utility company has also asked the commission to update how often customers can switch between rate plans.

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Evergy wants there to be a 12-month wait period before a customer who leaves a time-based rate plan can return to that same plan. Customers would always be able to go back to the default plan, Evergy says.

If approved, Evergy would not implement this policy until May 2024 to let customers find a plan that works best for them.

Extra funds for education

Finally, Evergy is asking the MPSC to allow the company to spend extra funding, if needed, to educate customers about these changes.

The commission issued an order last year requiring Evergy and other utility providers to switch to time-based plans.

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Evergy said it has been working to educate customers about the upcoming change since June. The time-based rate plans, as they currently stand, are set to take effect in October.

Evergy customers in Kansas do not need to choose a new plan since the time-of-use plans are only going into effect in Missouri.

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