Evergy Withdraws Missouri Opt Out Request for Time of Use Pricing

Ten days after seeking permission to allow customers to opt out of controversial time-of-use pricing, western Missouri’s major electric utility withdrew its request with state regulators, according to a news article published earlier this week by the Missouri Independent.

Under an order from the Missouri Public Service Commission, Topeka-based Evergy is expected next month to implement time-of-use pricing, which places a premium on electricity prices at times of high demand.

Citing criticism from both the public and elected officials, Evergy requested earlier this month that the Missouri regulator grant permission to make the program optional. The company has changed course and withdrew its request in a pleading filed on Monday.

The Missouri Public Service Commission canceled a public meeting scheduled for Tuesday.  The Office of the Public Counsel said in a separate filing with the commission last week that it “strongly opposed” Evergy’s request.

Among other issues, the OPC criticized Evergy’s request to fundamentally change its time-of-use pricing program just weeks before it is set to go into effect.

The OPC’s filing said it understood the public sentiment surrounding the mandatory time-of-use rates. The utility serves about 640,000 Missouri residents.

Clean energy advocacy group Renew Missouri also urged the commission to reject Evergy’s request.

Noting the customer blowback, Renew Missouri argued that the company should adjust its marketing and outreach efforts “rather than succumbing to negative Facebook comments by reversing course and attempting to upend a binding commission order.”

Renew Missouri said while Evergy’s filing was purportedly about customer feedback, it was also driven by politics.

Evergy is still asking the Missouri Public Service Commission to change the default time-of-use pricing plan from its “Standard Peak Saver,” which nearly quadruples the price of energy on summer afternoons, to the “Peak Reward Saver,” which has a much smaller price increase at that times and a discount for power used between midnight and 6 a.m.