Kansas Creates Electric Transmission Authority to Ensure that the Lights Stay on in the Sunflower State

Early in April, the Sunflower State followed Wyoming's lead in the creation of a state electricity infrastructure authority by passing the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority Act ("Act") and creating the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority ("Authority").  According to the Act, the Authority is responsible for ensuring the reliable operation of the state's integrated electrical transmission system and facilitating the consumption of the state's energy through improvements in Kansas' electric infrastructure.   

The Act permits the Authority to accept federal agency grants for operation, and to borrow funds and make loans to finance construction of or make upgrades or repairs to third-party transmission facilities.  It is intended that the Authority will recover its costs through tariffs of the Southwest Power Pool ("SPP"), or through assessments against any utility that benefits from Authority projects that have customers in Kansas.  The Authority is not permitted to directly maintain or operate transmission facilities. 

One important caveat, however, is that the Authority is only permitted to exercise its powers where private entities fail to do the job.  Specifically, SPP will continue to solicit support from utilities to build transmission projects in Kansas; only where the utilities are unwilling to fund and build new infrastructure is the Authority permitted to act.   (H.B. 2263) [NEW MATTER]