BPU board approves 2018 budget

The Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Public Utilities Board of Directors approved its 2018 annual budget for the municipal electric and water utility at its Dec. 20 board meeting.

The 2018 budget totaling $392 million is approximately $10 million more than the 2017 budget of $382 million, a spokesman said.

The increased budget of 2.7 percent is mainly the result of an increase in fuel and purchase power and debt service coverage, the spokesman said.

Last January, after rate hearings the BPU approved a 4 percent electric rate increase for 2017 that has gone into effect, and a 4 percent increase for 2018. The 4 percent increase is about $5 per month on an average customer’s bill, the spokesman said.

When looking to 2018, the spokesman stated the BPU’s major goals and priorities will include the following:

• A continued commitment and focus on improved customer service, updating business practices and policies as necessary to meet the needs of a broad customer base, putting in place initiatives to make information and services readily accessible across multiple communication platforms, and ensuring use of industry best practices in achieving these standards.

• Providing cost effective, safe and reliable utility services, including efficient operation of electric and water production facilities.

• Ensuring electric transmission and distribution systems are adaptable to support changes in future power supply sources, including successful communications and implementation of the new Rosedale Reliability Project. Operation of all transmission and generation assets in a safe, reliable, and efficient manner. Work to maintain and update infrastructure as needed.

• Monitoring, evaluating, and addressing changes in environmental regulations.

• Supporting renewable energy (wind, community solar, and other) and continue to evaluate future generation mix opportunities to ensure sustainable energy for the betterment of our community. This includes securing full utilization of the new Community Solar Farm by both residential and commercial customers, and other utility initiatives.

• Ensuring continued fiscal sustainability by effectively managing debt coverage, cash-on-hand, credit ratings, and open and transparent fiscal and budget policies.

• Promotion of on-going energy and water efficiency initiatives through customer education, community outreach services, and targeted programs.

• Exploring strategic alliances and expansion opportunities that benefit the utility and the community. Supporting economic development and retention and growth in the service area with other community partners.

• Use of innovative technologies, maintenance of all reliability standards, and development of a safety-conscious workplace that ensures continued electric and utility services.

BPU will continue efforts to improve efficiencies and reduce costs; assist and support community partners and meet and prepare for future customer growth while maintaining world-class customer service, according to the spokesman.

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