By Brian Grimmett

Companies have complained for years that electricity rates run higher in Kansas than in surrounding states.

That gives manufacturers and retailers in other states an edge, they say, and discourages businesses from moving to Kansas.

Now the Legislature wants to know what’s causing such a disparity.

To appease anxious lawmakers, executives at Westar and Kansas City Power and Light filed a report with state regulators justifying their higher-than-average rates.

It blamed electricity prices on a decade of spending to meet environmental regulations, not being able to take advantage of cheap natural gas, and a decline in how much electricity people are using.

Evergy predicts that utilities in other states will have to do the same thing. The added costs means they’ll eventually catch up with Kansas’ rates. Some industry analysts see other dynamics.

“That sounds like fantasy to me,” Steve Cicala, an expert on public policy at the University of Chicago said. “The surrounding states are shutting down their coal powered plants because gas and wind are much cheaper alternatives.”

He said Westar and KCP&L simply made a bet on coal that isn’t paying off.

Continue reading at KMUW…

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Areas of Focus: Energy Markets
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Renewable Energy
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