More People Seek Utility Assistance; KCP&L Suggests Rate Increase
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Kansas City Power and Light held a public hearing Tuesday night in Overland Park about its request in Kansas to increase rates by almost 13 percent. For the average customer, KCP&L says it’s about $12.34 a month.
The request comes while charities around the metro say they’re seeing a huge demand for utility assistance. The Salvation Army says the heat has already had an impact. It’s given away all the fans and almost of the air conditioning units and doesn’t have money to buy any more. Soon, people will start opening those electric bills and that’s when charity phones will really start ringing.
There’s now a waiting list for A/C units. Now, the Salvation Army is preparing for more calls for help with an impending rate increase from KCP&L.
“I’m sure we’ll get a lot of calls and maybe an increase in utility assistance,” said one salvation army employee.
“I doubt there are many people who haven’t had their air conditioner running 24 hours a day,” said Major Andy Miller with the Salvation Army.
Despite the need for utility assistance, the charity says its biggest worry is the food pantry. Demand is starting to spike now because of the drought. Food prices are on the rise as well.
“We can’t just say we’ll take care of today we look to the future and say what’s the cost of food in the fall when the crops come in,” Miller said.
A problem many charities are seeing is that people who used to offer help now need it.
“Some of those people used to be our donors coming to us for the first time and we’ve seen a significant spike in that,” Miller said.
Charities say rate increases hit low-income people the hardest so that is a big concern. KCP&L customers in Kansas were invited to voice their opinion about the proposed rate hike at Tuesday night’s meeting.