Utility company seeks deregulation from KCC

Published On: Apr 17 2014 04:34:22 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 17 2014 04:59:17 PM CDT
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A western Kansas utility company is asking customers to deregulate from the Kansas Corporation Commission.

A representative with Victory Electric says the change could decrease fees the utility pays to the commission. Right now, the company pays $12,000 quarterly, but those fees could soon go up.

The KCC regulates utility rate increases. Under Kansas law, an electrical cooperative can remove itself from the authority of the KCC by a mail-in vote of its members.

A state consumer advocacy group called the Citizens Utility Ratepayer Board says it is sending Victory Electric flyers that outline disadvantages customers could face. Some include the ability for the cooperative to raise rates at any time without third party oversight.

Victory says power rates did not increase for co-op customers from 1992-2011 in a coverage area that is already deregulated and have no planned rate increases.

Victory Electric says it plans to send out ballots to its 13,000 customers next month. If the vote fails, it says fees to the KCC would go up. Victory also says the change would make internal processes more efficient and keep decisions local, not in Topeka.

Anyone with questions can go to a special meeting on April 22, 6 p.m. at the Victory Electric corporate office in Dodge City.