KCC orders utilities to offer payment plans, waive late fees through 2020

KNSS News
May 21, 2020 - 8:54 pm
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An order issued by the Kansas Corporation Commission on Thursday requires utilities under its jurisdiction to offer 12-month payment plans and waive late fees through the end of the year to help residential and small business customers avoid disconnection.

The Commission’s earlier order suspending disconnections is set to expire on May 31. Today’s order will help customers, struggling with the economic effects of COVID-19, pay off past due balances gradually while avoiding disconnection of service. Customers are also encouraged to apply for available utility assistance programs. Information is posted on the KCC website (https://kcc.ks.gov/consumer-information/utility-assistance-programs).

KCC staff filed a report with the Commission on May 6 recommending baseline customer protections prior to the end of the disconnect suspension order. Utilities had the opportunity to respond to the recommendations prior to today’s order. Several utilities have advised they plan to offer protections in excess of the minimums required.

The order states utilities may defer any extraordinary bad debt expense and lost fee revenue that arises from the required customer protections into a regulatory asset for accounting purposes only. Any recovery requests will be considered in a utility’s next rate case or rate recovery filing.

The Commission may extend the consumer protections if the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into 2021.

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