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Staff Writer
The Kansan

Evergy announces 2020 third-quarter results

Evergy Inc. recently announced third quarter 2020 earnings of $365 million, or $1.60 per share, compared with earnings of $367 million, or $1.56 per share, for the third quarter of 2019.

Evergy’s adjusted earnings (non-GAAP) and adjusted earnings per share (non-GAAP) were $393 million and $1.73, respectively, in the third quarter of 2020 compared with $370 million and $1.57, respectively, in the third quarter of 2019. Adjusted earnings (non-GAAP) and adjusted earnings per share (non-GAAP) are reconciled to GAAP earnings in the financial table included in this release.

Third quarter earnings per share were driven higher by lower operations and maintenance expense due to continued cost management, an increase in weather-normalized demand due to higher residential demand and fewer shares outstanding. These benefits were partially offset by lower gross margin from unfavorable weather.

“Our team’s focus on execution is reflected in great results this quarter,” said Terry Bassham, Evergy president and CEO.

KDOT announces October bids

The Kansas Department of Transportation recently approved bids for state highway construction and maintenance projects in Kansas — awarding bids to a pair of area contractors.

Bids awarded included:

Morris County: Bridge over the Neosho River located 1.5 miles south of White City, bridge replacement, 0.1 mile, Bridges Inc., Newton, $571,790.12.

Finney County: 8th Street, from St. John Street north to Buffalo Jones Avenue/East Walnut Street in Garden City, pedestrian and bicycle paths, 0.2 mile, Bryant & Bryant Construction Inc., Halstead, $2,041,784.35.

The Kansas Corporation Commission held a virtual public hearing Thursday evening on proposed changes to how Evergy, the state’s largest utility, would charge customers to accommodate solar users.

At least 80 people were in line to make comments, mostly against Evergy’s plans.

Evergy wants to charge those with solar panels a monthly grid access fee of $3 per kilowatt, even if his or her home doesn’t take electricity from the grid. For the average home with panels, that would be about $20 to $30 a month.

Otherwise, the utility company will look to charge all customers a minimum bill of $35 a month. Bills above $35 a month already, however, won’t see additional charges.

The proposals come after the Kansas Supreme Court said the original plan was discriminatory, as it had solar users pay an additional special demand charge.

The changes are needed, said Ahmad Faruqui in a testimony filing, speaking on behalf of Evergy.

“A large portion of the cost to serve customers is fixed. It does not go down with volume. So, (solar) customers do not pay the full cost of serving them, thereby creating the free rider problem,” he said.

In other words, solar users purchase significantly fewer energy from the grid (which may be needed when there is no sun up, for example), but the fixed cost of connecting them to the grid doesn’t decrease. That discrepancy needs to be addressed, Faruqui said.

Additionally, unlike the non-solar user who simply takes power from the grid, solar users only take from and transmit electricity to the grid at various times, which “can actually increase the utility’s costs to serve customers by complicating system planning, managing load flow, and system dispatch and by imposing additional administrative, transactional, accounting and billing burdens on customer service operations,” Faruqui testified.

Solar advocates, however, have pushed back on Evergy’s plans, saying the move is aimed at discouraging people from adopting solar energy.

Robert Rosenburg, an Evergy customer and co-director of the Flint Hills Renewable Energy and Efficency Co-Op, criticized the grid access fee at the public hearing.

“It’s just another discriminatory fee that impacts solar customers only,” Rosenburg said.

— By Titus Wu, The Topeka Capital-Journal