JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Within the next few months, millions of Missourians could be paying more for electricity.
The Missouri Public Service Commission has moved forward with a new mandate on electric companies, which will lead to rising bills for customers.
Think of supply and demand. The more demand there is, the higher the cost. Because of that price determination, Ameren Missouri and Evergy are now required to use “time of use” rates, an adjustment to the price you pay for electricity based on the time of day it’s used.
“It allows them to control their energy dollars, save money and really have more control over how much they have to pay for energy,” said Scott Rupp, chairman of the Missouri Public Service Commission.
Starting in October, Evergy customers on the western side of the state will need to enroll in one of four state plans. If you don’t select from one of those four plans, you will automatically be enrolled in the standard peak saver rate. In this case, the price of electricity will spike from nine cents to 38 cents per kilowatt-hour between the hours of 4-8 p.m. in the summer months.
“We’re going to give you a discount on how much your energy is on all the other times of the day, but during these times when it’s more expensive, we’re going to flow the cost through so you have understanding of what it actually costs you to use your energy,” said Rupp.
“In Evergy, the most aggressive plan, the cost does go up quite a bit during the four-hour period of the peak time, but you’re also getting almost a 50 percent discount on the times when it’s not as expensive,” he added.
On Thursday, representatives from Evergy told the Public Service Commission roughly 90 percent of customers will see little change or possibly save annually.
Some Missouri lawmakers are not pleased by this concept.
“So I’m going to work all day, come home, wait until midnight to turn the air conditioner down, so it will be cool enough for me to sleep,” said Missouri State Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin (R-Shelbina). Yet I won’t be sleeping because I’ll have to be up doing my laundry and my household things when I can afford the power. What kind of a system is that?”
O’Laughlin, also the Senate Majority Floor Leader, isn’t an Evergy customer. But she says the Public Service Commission is abusing their power by mandating time of use rates.
“The PSC is really in effect to make sure that Missourians have affordable, reliable power and in my opinion. This steps outside of that,” said O’Laughlin.
“This is the first time we’ve actually given customers choice, where you actually have multiple rates to pick from and stuff. So this is what we were designed to do,” said Rupp.
O’Laughlin and Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo (D-Kansas City) sent a letter to the commission this week asking them to repeal “time of use” rates. They expect the topic to be top of priority this upcoming session.
“It’s not acceptable to me and I don’t think it’s going to be acceptable to most of the people in the legislature,” said O’Laughlin.