During the current legislative session, Sunflower and its members were particularly interested in SB 323. Strong co-op participation and interaction with legislators were instrumental in the advancement of the bill. After being passed unanimously in the House and Senate, the bill was signed by Gov. Jeff Colyer on March 5. SB 323 includes the following provisions:
• Regulation of municipal agencies. This provision will allow the members of a municipal energy agency to vote to deregulate from Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) jurisdiction for rate matters between the MEA and the members. MEAs will be required to obtain a certificate of convenience for transmission rights only when constructing transmission assets that cross another utility’s service territory.
• Requirements for service territory annexation. Municipalities will be required to give an incumbent rural utility a 30-day notice of consent annexation. The municipality, when determining which utility will serve the newly annexed property, will consider a proposal from the incumbent electric supplier to provide service. Current law provides a formula for compensation to the rural utility when a city annexes existing rural utility customers into a city municipal utility or another retail provider. New provisions provide compensation when land is annexed for future development and when the rural utility loses the right to provide electric service to the property.
• Elimination of dual regulation of transmission-owning electric cooperatives. The KCC governs Kansas’ electric transmission rates, which are also regulated by the Southwest Power Pool and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). These levels of jurisdiction create problems for Kansas cooperatives when the various jurisdictions disagree about rate matters. Going forward, rates charged as part of SPP and FERC will not be governed by the KCC.