The KMEA Board of Directors will be meeting on May 2 and one of the agenda items will be an election to “opt-out” of Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) jurisdiction. Notice of this election was sent out on April 3. This notice and further information can be accessed with this link: NOTICE!
A January 9, 2018 KCC order ruled that the current state statutes dealing with municipal energy agencies (MEA Act) required full regulation by the KCC over the municipal energy agencies. Despite the fact that these statutes have been in place since the 1970’s, the KCC has rarely, if ever, exercised regulatory authority over KMEA. During the 2018 legislative session, KMU, KPP and KMEA staffs worked diligently to change the statutes to provide the same KCC regulatory oversight that is provided over the rural electric cooperatives.
The Kansas legislature eventually passed Substitute for Senate Bill 323 or “SB 323”. SB 323 became law on March 8, 2018 upon publication in the Kansas Register. SB 323 ended up as a comprehensive bill that addressed 3 areas regarding electric utilities: (1) KCC jurisdiction over municipal energy agencies (i.e., KMEA and KPP); (2) changes to the current electric service territory provisions; and (3) a fix for a dual regulation issue for the electric cooperatives.
On the KCC jurisdiction issue, SB 323 changed provisions of the existing MEA Act to provide a process for KMEA to opt out of full regulation by the KCC that mirrors the language for the electric cooperatives. If an MEA elects to opt out of regulation, KCC would still maintain some limited jurisdiction including service territory, transmission rates to 3rd parties, sales of power for resale to non-members, wire stringing and transmission line siting. The new law provides for a required election of the governing body (Board of Directors) and an affirmative vote of the majority the members voting.
Again, the election will take place during the Board of Directors meeting at 4:30 PM on May 2 during the KMU Conference in Wichita. Please plan to attend to participate in this important election!