Customers shocked by potential increase in electric bills

Kansas City Power & Light customers in northwest Missouri are shocked their electric bills could increase.

Posted: Jan 3, 2019 11:36 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Kansas City Power & Light customers in northwest Missouri are shocked their electric bills could increase in a couple of months.

The power company has filed a request with the Missouri Public Service Commission to adjust the fuel adjustment charge for electric customers. The average residential customer using 1,000kWh a month would see their monthly FAC charge increase from approximately $2.40 a month to $5.41 a month on their electric bill. 

The FAC covers fuel costs for the utility.

Terry Shipps and his wife have lived in the same home in St. Joseph for the last four years. Shipps said he can't believe the company is proposing an increase to electric bills. He said the charges are already too high.

"Our rates have easily doubled from what they originally were," Shipps said. "It's difficult for people living paycheck to paycheck and now add this."

Shipps' electric bill for December 2018 was $398.45 and compared to last December that's $20 more.

The power company said the increase would help cover higher fuel costs between June 2018 and November 2018.

But Shipps said he's heard many excuses but few concrete answers. He said each time KCP&L increases prices, the company provides a different explanation. Shipps said he first heard the increases were caused by new meters, then rising temperatures, then a merger between KCP&L and Westar Energy, and now it's fuel costs. 

"We're not getting a clear answer from them," Shipps said.

He said his main frustration is his lack of power to do anything about it. He illustrated his point by comparing restaurants and electric companies.

"If you get crappy service, or you don't like the food, you can go to a different area," Shipps said. "But with the electric company, you get that same crappy service, and you got no where else to go."

KCP&L has not responded to our request for comment as of Thursday night.

The proposed change to electric bills would take effect in March.

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A cold front is currently moving through our area this morning dropping temperatures into the lower 40s and upper 30s. Today will be a cool day with highs in the upper 40s and lower 50s with increasing clouds. Temperatures will fall into the lower 30s tonight. We could see a few areas of light rain and drizzle this evening, but precipitation chances will start to increase overnight into tomorrow morning. With the sub freezing temperatures, precipitation will transition from light rain and drizzle in the evening to snow overnight into Tuesday morning. Snowfall will continue through the morning hours on Tuesday before transitioning to a rain/snow mix while it exits the area. Most areas will see around 1-3 inches. Accumulations will stay mainly on grassy and elevated surfaces, but expect slushy road conditions Tuesday morning. Conditions will slowly start to improve for the rest of the work week with sunshine returning and temperatures slowly warming. Rain chances will return for the end of the work week.
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