It’s a confusing time to be an Evergy customer in Missouri — and state regulators are taking note.
The other two members supported the company’s revised request, issued Monday night, which would only put one of those changes into effect: swapping out which of Evergy’s four new rate plans will be the “default” plan customers get placed on in just a few weeks.
The current default plan is the one that commissioners found will save customers the most money. The plan Evergy wants as the default is closer to the consistent rate customers have now — but is less likely to reduce bills.
The company claims that this change will reduce confusion for customers. But some commissioners argued that Evergy itself is responsible for most of the recent confusion.
“They’re trying to maximize their revenues every possible way that they can, and I understand that,” commission chair Scott Rupp said. “But… this is almost like a ninth-inning solution to a problem that they kind of helped create.”
The commission could decide as early as next week what to do about Evergy’s most recent request.
In the meantime, readers have continued to write to The Star with questions about how to navigate Evergy’s new rates and what will happen next. Here’s a selection of questions and our answers, based on the latest news.
When will the new time of use plans become mandatory?
Currently, the official rollout is still scheduled to start on Oct. 1. If regulators do nothing, that’s when Evergy will start switching customers onto time-based rates.
However, since Evergy is trying to swap out the “default” plan at the last minute, the launch might get pushed back to Oct. 14. We’ll know more next week about what that timeline looks like.
No matter what happens, most Evergy Missouri customers will get put onto a time-based rate plan by the end of the year.
What will the ‘default’ rate plan be?
This is the main question the commission still has to decide. They could do so as early as next week.
The current default rate is called the “Standard Peak Saver” plan. It charges a high premium from 4-8 p.m. during the summer months, but doesn’t have any peak pricing during the winter.
“How we came down on the default rate being what it was, (is) because that’s the one where they’re going to save the most money,” Rupp said Thursday morning.
Evergy wants to switch the default rate to the “Peak Reward Saver” plan, which has smaller fluctuations in price throughout the day. While it’s closer to the flat rate customers are used to, it offers fewer opportunities to save on their electricity bills.
Commission staff opposed this swap in a filing last week, saying that it could cause Evergy to collect more revenue than they are legally allowed.
Can I choose which rate plan I want, and switch between them?
Yes. Regardless of which default rate plan the commission decides on, customers can always choose to switch to a different plan that they like better.
Earlier this month Evergy suggested making it harder for customers to switch between rate plans — but later withdrew that request. That means customers can still switch between plans as many times as they want, whenever they want.
“That’s what we want people to have, is choice,” Rupp said. “Regardless of what the policy ends up being there, people are having more choice amongst their rates than they’ve ever had.”
Which is the ‘best’ plan that will save me the most money?
As a general rule, the Standard Peak Saver plan is the one that state regulators believe will save money for the most customers. However, you might be able to get better savings on another plan depending on when you use the most electricity.
You can find out which rate will save you the most money based on your personal electricity use habits by using the rate comparison tool on Evergy’s website.
Most of Evergy’s Missouri customers are already eligible to choose a rate plan that works for them. That means you don’t have to wait to find out which plan ends up as the default or what its official rollout date will be — you can choose a plan and switch right now.
I know which rate plan I want, but I’m not able to switch onto it. Why is that?
There are a handful of exceptions to Evergy’s new time-of-use rates. Here are a few The Star has reported on in the past:
Customers without AMI or “smart” electric meters aren’t eligible for any of the time-based plans. They will stay on a flat-rate plan like the one most customers have now.
Customers with solar panels on a “net metering” plan will only be eligible for the Peak Reward Saver rate.
Customers with all-electric heating will not be able to stay on Evergy’s all-electric rate plan — this plan is ending as time-of-use rates take effect.
Average Payment Plans will still be available under the new time-based rate program.
Some customers have special circumstances. To navigate them, Evergy recommends calling the time-of-use hotline at 800-541-0407.
Do you have more questions about Evergy’s upcoming time-based rate plans? Ask the Service Journalism team at email@example.com.