TOPEKA, Kan. —Frigid weather that has sent temperatures plunging across Kansas and the rest of middle America also has power and gas utilities urging customers to dial down the thermostat.
In addition during a special meeting Monday, Commissioners for the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) issued an emergency order directing utilities to do all things possible and necessary to ensure adequate amounts of natural gas and electricity to meet the needs of Kansas customers including interconnected non-jurisdictional utilities that depend on them for power, according to a media release from the KCC.
The prolonged stretch of extremely cold temperatures has increased demand, created natural gas supply constraints, and potentially reliability issues.
“It’s in every Kansan’s best interest to conserve electricity and natural gas over the next few days when possible,” said KCC Chairperson Andrew French. “Reducing your usage will help ensure everyone continues to receive these services, and it will save you money on future utility bills.”
Utilities are experiencing wholesale gas prices anywhere from 10 to 200 times higher than normal. Those costs will eventually impact customers through increases in monthly natural gas and electric bills.
Monday’s order also authorizes every jurisdictional electric and natural gas distribution utility that incurs extraordinary costs associated with ensuring its customers continue to receive utility service during this cold weather event to defer those costs to a regulatory asset account for future review by the Commission. This deferral is for accounting purposes only. Any decisions related to ratepayer recovery will be addressed in future proceedings.