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Kansas City Power and Light Efficiency Agreement Would Deliver $34 Million in Benefits to Missourians over Next 18 Months

David Weiskopf

Posted May 28, 2014 in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably, Solving Global Warming

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Kansas City Power and Light signed an agreement Tuesday that would deliver significant new energy-saving programs to Missouri. This agreement lays out a plan that builds on a previous agreement among the utility, NRDC and other stakeholders, and includes the Missouri Public Service Commission Staff as a signatory.  If approved by the Public Service Commission, this plan would start providing benefits to Missourians as early as this July.

By improving the quality of energy services it delivers to Missouri residents with lighting upgrades, better appliances and air conditioners, and other efficiency measures, KCP&L is helping its customers avoid wasting money unnecessary electricity purchases. In addition to creating 103,000 megawatt-hours in electricity savings for KCP&L customers, this plan would also scale up the savings that are already underway in KCP&L’s Greater Missouri Operations service territory by another 25,000 megawatt-hours.

This agreement will bring the combined savings targets for customers in the Kansas City Region to nearly 300,000 megawatt-hours over the life of the combined plans. That’s enough savings to power and more than 20,000 Missouri homes for a year! This will save utility customers approximately $34 million over the lifetime of the measures installed through this program, over and above the millions they are already saving through the existing KCP&L-GMO programs. As programs scale up in future years, the savings will continue to grow.

Without these efficiency investments, all of that cash would get burnt – literally! Missouri gets over 80% of its electricity from burning imported coal, and the state produces virtually none of this coal itself. Utility customers are currently footing the bill to send over $1.4 billion (that’s billion with a “B”) out of state to buy the coal that runs the state’s aging power plant fleet. With efficiency, Missourians can burn less cash to burn coal. Instead, they can get cheaper, cleaner energy resources and create good local jobs through efficiency upgrades.

Burning all of that coal makes Missouri the 8th biggest source of power plant carbon dioxide pollution in the country, despite being 18th in population. All of that pollution contributes to the state’s high asthma rates and poor air quality, in addition to contributing to climate disruption that produces extreme weather events, floods, droughts, and heat-related hospital admissions in the state.

But for every megawatt hour of energy that efficiency improvements keep from going to waste, over a ton of carbon dioxide emissions can be avoided at coal-burning power plants. In fact, KCP&L’s new plan would help the state prevent over 101,000 tons of carbon pollution emissions. That’s equivalent to taking 21,000 cars off the road for a year – and all of this while saving money on customers’ electricity bills and creating local jobs for Missourians.

Now that all of the state’s largest utilities have filed energy savings plans with the state, Missouri is poised to turn the corner on its path to a modern, cleaner energy economy, and set itself up as an energy innovation hub in the coming decades. As Missouri works towards developing a comprehensive statewide energy plan and considers how best to implement the upcoming federal carbon standards, the value of efficiency investments will continue to grow. By focusing on promoting energy efficiency, the Show-Me State could show us all how we can achieve cleaner air, better energy security, and reduced climate impacts in a way that will benefit our economy today, and our environment for generations to come.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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