Kan. utilities seek for change in green energy law

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 5, 2014 at 1:03 pm •  Published: February 5, 2014
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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Utilities in Kansas are lobbying legislators to rewrite a state renewable energy law to provide less of a financial benefit to consumers who install solar panels or windmills.

However, a solar energy advocate said bills introduced in the House and Senate would make Kansas one of the worst states in the country for solar businesses, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1jdvQog ).

Under the state's "net metering" law, consumers who use renewable resources and generate more electricity than they need get full credit for each extra kilowatt hour they send to the electric grid.

Westar Energy, the state's largest electric company, said the practice does not account for utilities' fixed costs, such as power plants and lines.

"When a customer generates some of his or her own power and gets paid the full retail rate of 10 cents, the result is that other customers pay his share of the cost of the entire infrastructure that he continues to use," Mark Schreiber, Westar's executive director of government affairs, told legislators Tuesday. "Rooftop solar systems don't remove a customer's reliance on the utility grid of power plants — they just save fuel."