KCP&L reaches settlement on energy plan

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Power & Light plans to reinstate a program to help customers save energy after it stalled two years ago when the utility limited participation to customers in western Missouri, prompting criticism from environmental groups.

In 2012, KCP&L dropped its energy efficiency plans that would have given customers rebates for more efficient air conditioners and provided programmable thermostats, The Kansas City Star reported (http://bit.ly/1kqyeIr). But a settlement Wednesday among the utility, environmental groups and state regulatory staff would allow the programs to start as early as July.

The Missouri Public Service Commission still has to approve the settlement, which sets a goal to save enough electricity through 2015 to power more than 5,000 homes.

“Programs like these represent exactly the kind of win-win solutions we’re hopeful Missouri will place at the center of its energy policy and emissions reduction plans under the carbon standards for power plants we expect EPA to unveil next week,” said David Weiskopf, sustainable energy fellow for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

KCP&L doesn’t offer energy efficiency programs in Kansas, but Kansas recently approved legislation that will make them possible in the future.

For more than a year KCP&L has been offering energy efficiency programs to customers in western Missouri who were once served by Aquila Inc. Those programs will continue, and the settlement will for the first time offer them instant rebates when the buy more efficient lighting.

The change is bringing the energy efficiency programs, which were once offered as a pilot, to KCP&L’s traditional service territory, including most of Kansas City. The utility in 2012 said it wouldn’t proceed with its energy efficiency plans in that area because spending money on energy efficiency wasn’t cost effective and there was more than enough power to serve those customers.

KCP&L now wants to proceed, believing that demand will eventually outrun supply and it will take a while for energy efficiency to grow.

“We believe now is the time,'” said Katie McDonald, a spokeswoman for KCP&L.

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