TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS/KSNT) — Critics of Evergy’s plan to hike electricity rates in Kansas warn that higher prices would put the health of elderly people in danger. Evergy says its first increase to base rates in five years is less than the inflation over that time. But Wichita Democratic Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau urged the electricity company to look for ways to help retirees. She says people with fixed incomes can struggle to pay for cooling their homes. Monthly bills would jump about $14 for the average household in the company’s central Kansas region. Average monthly bills would increase about $3.50 for households in and near the Kansas City metro.
Retirees on fixed incomes are upset at Evergy’s proposal to hike rates. At a public hearing, Topeka resident Ella Dawson criticized the company for seeking to increase its annual revenue by more than $200 million. “So what kind of life are you setting for us senior citizens – who have given their whole entire life to the work environment? And we can’t afford to be stockholders. If we could, I would get into it. Buy me some of that stock and get that cash,” she said.
Evergy paid out half a billion dollars in dividends last year. The company says its proposal will, in part, help it recover spending on power grid improvements.