Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

There is No Such Thing as Fair

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Torquing the connectors that hold down our solar panels
Almost 4 years ago to today, I posted here about my concerns that eminent domain would be used to take farmers' land for the Midwest Transmissions Project, a $400 million project to bring in some 140 to 170 miles of new 345-kv transmission line to northwestern Missouri and southeastern Nebraska.  Kansas City Power and Light just announced a deal to purchase 500 megawatts of power from the new wind farm that I posted about yesterday and another farm a little more north.  I guess we know now why they needed the MTP. 

So this got me thinking, because I used to work at KCPL and I know how they buy and sell electricity.  They are not an overly profitable company, but they do well, take care of their employees, contribute to the community in many ways, and pay a decent dividend.

Looking at my bill, they're charging me as follows for each kWh of energy that we use:
  • 11.44 cents per kWh for the energy only +
  • 0.33 cents for a "DSIM charge" +
  • 0.30 cents for a "FAC" or Fuel Adjustment Clause
That adds up to roughly 12.07 cents per kWh.  And that doesn't even count the monthly $11.88 customer charge or the $5.96 franchise fee.

When our solar panels generate more power than we use, KCPL buys it from us.  How much?  It's the same as their cost for producing energy from their coal plants.  Or presumably, buying it from wind farms.

1.9 cents per kWh

And then they can claim the federal Production Tax Credit for solar of 1.2 cents per kWh for everything we generate.  Now granted, I am not going to make a big stink about this because KCPL paid over $18k of the cost of our solar project and they deserve to recoup that investment.  But this certainly does show the disparity between what it costs to produce energy and what is being paid by consumers.  A large part of that cost is related to onerous EPA regulations.  But they just filed for a rate increase of 10.77 percent to cover costs related to "upgrading the company's infrastructure, adding regional transmission lines (MTP, anyone?), and complying with environmental and cybersecurity mandates."  The average residential customer will see an increase on their bill of about $11.92. 

The reason given for the purchase of wind energy from the new turbine farms (which I posted about yesterday) is that it is cheaper than the price that KCPL pays to buy energy off the market when necessary during peak load periods.  This power also qualifies for the federal Production Tax Credit for wind of 2.3 cents per kWh.  Yes, that means the federal government is paying more for each one of those wind-generated kWh than what it takes KCPL to generate it normally.  Why then, has KCPL submitted yet another huge annual proposed increase ? 

It certainly doesn't seem fair. 


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