Great Rivers Represents NRDC, Advocates in favor of Energy Efficiency Programs

Environmental Lawyer Henry Robertson

Great Rivers Environmental Law Center is happy to support the utilities when they support energy efficiency measures – and oppose them when they want to keep burning coal. Great Rivers’s Climate and Energy Director Henry Robertson recently represented the Natural Resources Defense Council to advocate in favor of Evergy’s energy efficiency offerings to their customers. Evergy, formerly Kansas City Power & Light, is a utility providing energy to approximately 1/3 of Missouri and 1.6 million customers.

Evergy needed approval of their plan from the Public Service Commission,* but faced opposition from the Staff of the Commission, who argued that the only benefit from energy efficiency measures is the cost saved when you don’t have to build new or additional power plants years down the road. The Staff grossly underestimated the value that increased energy efficiency offerings would bring to the people of Missouri.

Great Rivers’ Climate and Energy Director Henry Robertson argued that the benefits of energy efficiency are myriad – while the reduction in the need for future capital investment is valuable, it certainly is not the only benefit.

“Energy efficiency saves energy and therefore money – no kilowatt-hour is cheaper than the kilowatt-hour you don’t have to use. ”

Henry Robertson
Climate and Energy Program Director, Great Rivers Environmental Law Center

Energy efficiency also reduces the pollution that jeopardizes public health, and the greenhouse gas emissions that choke our atmosphere.   While customers must pay the utility to administer the programs, this cost is greatly outweighed by these benefits.

On Decemer 13, 2019, the PSC granted approval of Evergy’s plan, with some modifications. As a result, Evergy will be able to invest $96 million dollars in energy efficiency programs and achieve an anticipated $234 million in customer savings. 

Measures to increase energy efficiency programs such as those Evergy proposed can be especially helpful to low-income consumers, who must spend a higher percentage of their income on energy needs. Evergy’s plan is a step in the right direction for Missouri, both for those who will see lower bills and cleaner air, and for the global community which is affected by the energy decisions we make right here at home.

We are grateful to the Natural Resources Defense Council for their partnership in this matter.

  • The Public Service Commission, or PSC, regulates investor-owned utilities to ensure that customers receive safe, reliable and affordable energy.

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