2018 – A Big Year for our Agencies

As we reflect on the past year for the two agencies, 2018 will be marked as one of importance.

The year started off with an unexpected twist when the Kansas Corporation Commission ruled that the state statutes provided for full jurisdiction by the Commission over municipal energy agencies, such as KMEA, even though this right had never been exercised by the KCC.  After several months of working with and educating the State Legislature and other interested parties, the Governor signed Senate Bill 323 which amended the state statutes to allow for KMEA to “opt out” of full KCC jurisdiction. In June, the KMEA Board elected to exercise this opt-out option.

For KMEA, two key long-term projects started energy deliveries during this year – the Dogwood Energy Project and the Buckeye Wind Project. After completing the sale of bonds for the purchase price of the facility in March, five member cities began receiving the benefits of KMEA ownership in this large, efficient, gas-fired combined cycle plant. The Dogwood Facility had an outstanding year setting many operational records including amount of generation, revenues, and net margins. These five cities will continue to receive the benefits of KMEA’s ownership in this plant for many years to come.

In June, twenty-one cities began receiving energy from the Buckeye Wind Project located in Ellis County, Kansas. The benefits of this low cost, environmentally friendly resource will continue for a term of 15 years. For many of these cities, it is the first wind resource in their power supply portfolios. These two projects are prime examples of the value of joint action and the agency fulfilling its primary mission of providing reliable and cost effective energy to the member communities.

Staff and the Executive Committee for the gas agency spent considerable amount of time and effort on a couple unique projects. One of these efforts included discussions with a group of Nebraska cities and the potential of expanding our agency beyond the state borders of Kansas. After many discussions and providing a formal proposal to this group, it was ultimately decided by the Nebraska group not to move forward. Although not successful as a group, we do believe it will open the doors for potential to add a number of new members in the coming years.

The other KMGA project that staff and the membership have been working on is a prepay gas. Much of 2018 was spent learning about the benefits of a prepay gas project and eventually we identified a project for consideration by the KMGA members. We are currently working on agreements and expect that we will complete this project in the coming months bringing significant savings to our gas members that elect to participate.

Finally, the two agencies came together this year and completed a joint strategic plan for the agencies. KMEA President, Mike Muirhead, and KMGA President, Randy Frazer, established a task force of member cities and staff that participated in a 2 day retreat.  A comprehensive plan was developed that focuses on three areas of focus – strategic growth, communications/identity, and organization. We will present the strategic plan to both the KMEA and KMGA boards during our May meetings. We, as staff, are very excited about the direction that our members have set for us.

As we move into 2019, we will follow our mission statement of pledging our relentless focus and dedication to providing new and innovative solutions to help our members achieve reliable and cost effective energy to their communities. Finally, we would like to thank the entire membership for all the trust and support that you have provided us over the past year.  Thank you!