For more information contact: Linda Berry, (785) 271-3269
October 26, 2017
KCC overrules objections to accelerated gas pipeline replacement plan
Topeka –Today the Kansas Corporation Commission reaffirmed an order issued last month calling upon gas utilities to prepare plans to accelerate the replacement of obsolete and aging infrastructure in the interest of public safety.
The September 12th order met with opposition from the three gas utilities under the KCC’s jurisdiction. Atmos Energy, Black Hills Energy and Kansas Gas Service filed petitions for reconsideration outlining concerns including the pace of the replacement, the prioritization of specific areas, the impact on ratepayers and the proposed cost recovery program.
During the course of the original general investigation, which was opened on May 12, 2015, the utilities proposed their own plans to accelerate pipeline replacement. However, as stated in today’s order, “the Commission rejected the parties’ proposals because in the Commission’s view those proposals did not provide sufficient oversight over the Gas Utilities’ replacement efforts, did not adequately balance the needs of shareholders and ratepayers, and did not provide a sufficient benefit to ratepayers in the form of increased public safety to justify the expense.”
As a result of today’s order, the utilities must adhere to the original order by submitting a tentative accelerated replacement plan within three months and a final plan within six months.
To assist utilities in their acceleration efforts, the Commission offered an optional Accelerated Replacement Program (ARP), initially as a four year pilot program. Commissioners attached a number of conditions to the program to ensure utility accountability and reasonable costs to consumers. The annual surcharge to residential customers for the program has been capped at $.40 per month to maintain rate stability.
The complete order can be viewed at: http://estar.kcc.ks.gov/estar/ViewFile.aspx/20171026101842.pdf?Id=14e7a6de-2f8c-469a-87f2-c1c501ba4316