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Minutes for SB245 - Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance

Short Title

Providing for the financing of electrical corporations through the issuance of securitization bonds.

Minutes Content for Wed, Mar 17, 2021

 

Chairman Longbine reconvened the hearing on SB245.  He recognized Senator Pittman on a point of privilege, who introduced Brook Collins, from the Leavenworth Political Club at Leavenworth High School.  Ms. Collins had a foreign exchange student from Italy with her who is studying the workings of our democratic system.  Both students were welcomed by the committee.

The Chair asked Eileen Ma, Assistant Revisor, Office of Revisor of Statutes to present a brief refresher on the bill and to brief the committee on the current status of discussions and proposed changes to the bill.  (Attachment 1)  Ms. Ma advised that she was looking at a working draft now, but would provide a final bill draft later today or tomorrow.

 

Oral Proponents:

Darrin Ives, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Evergy, Inc. appeared in person.  (Attachment 2)  Mr. Ives indicated that during the course of working with all the interested parties in this matter that they had come to consensus on acceptable language and definitions, and that in the beginning, there was another party that had been against the bill, but was now on board and in alignment with the others.

Justin Grady, Chief of Revenue Requirements, Cost of Service and Finance, Utilities Division, Kansas Corporation Commission appeared virtually by Webex.  (Attachment 3)

Patrick Vogelsberg, Government Affairs Manager, Kansas Gas Service, a  Division of ONE Gas, Inc. appeared in person.  (Attachment 4)  Mr. Vogelsberg answered a question from Senator Holscher.

Steven Cowen, Manager, State Government Affairs, Kansas, Black Hills Energy appeared in person.  (Attachment 5)

Paul Snider, for Kansans for Lower Electric Rates appeared in person.  (Attachment 6)  Mr. Snider announced that in working over the last few weeks with Evergy, the KCC, CURB and others that they now have moved from a neutral stance to being a proponent of the bill.  Their agreement was only reached this morning, so the language that will be incorporated in the final bill is not yet included in the working draft before the committee at this time.  However, he was assured that there were sufficient changes in the bill to allow assistance and protections for the rate payers.

Written-Only Proponents:

David Nickel, Consumer Counsel for Citizens Utility Ratepayer Board (CURB)  (Attachment 7)

Jared Geiger, Vice President, Rates and Regulatory Affairs, CO-KS Division, Atmos Energy Corporation  (Attachment 8)

 

Written-Only Opponent:

Ernest Kutzley, AARP Kansas (Attachment 9)

 

Oral Neutral Testimony:

Susan Cunningham, Sr. Vice President, Regulatory and Government Affairs, and General Counsel for Kansas Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. appeared in person.  (Attachment 10)  Ms. Cunningham indicated that she had previously testified as neutral  on the bill, but due to the ongoing discussions and changes to the bill, she announced that the bill has morphed into something that they can support with a few additional provisions.  Some of their concerns pertained to double recovery, tying up more tightly the use of the proceeds, perhaps applying them for other grid re-investments to benefit consumers, and an effective date  four years from now.

 

Written-Only Neutral Testimony:

Randy Stookey, for the Associations for Kansas Grain and Feed, Kansas Agribusiness Retailers, and Renew Kansas Biofuels  (Attachment 11)

There being no other questions or discussion, and no additional proponent, opponent or neutral testimony submitted, Chairman Longbine closed the hearing on SB245.

In closing, Chair Longbine announced that the committee would take action on SB245 tomorrow. There will be a balloon amendment to consider, encompassing the language Mr. Snider mentioned, then the intent is to pass out of committee as Senate Substitute for SB245, and subsequently put the bill into a House shell.  SB245 will be called first and then the hearing on SB199 will be resumed if enough time.  Also, the plan at this time is for the committee to work other previously heard bills on Friday.

The meeting adjourned at 10:30 am.  The next scheduled meeting is Thursday, March 18, 2021, at 9:30 am in room 546-South of the Capitol.