Empire District files deal covering Riverton combined-cycle conversion costs

Empire District Electric Co. (NYSE: EDE) announced June 21 that it has filed a Unanimous Stipulation and Agreement with the Missouri Public Service Commission (MPSC) for changes in rates for its Missouri electric customers.

The agreement, if approved by the MPSC, allows an annual increase in base revenues of about $20.4 million or 4.46%.

The primary driver for the case was the conversion of the company’s Riverton Unit 12 natural gas combustion turbine to combined cycle operation. The conversion replaced the production capacity lost with the recent retirement of two coal-fired units at Riverton. The conversion will result in higher generating efficiency and lower emissions. The upgrade was developed as part of the company’s least-cost plan to comply with the federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). The project was placed into service on May 1, 2016, at a total project cost of approximately $168 million, excluding AFUDC.

The agreement filed June 21 calls for the Fuel Adjustment Charge (FAC) to remain in effect. The agreed upon level of fuel and purchased power (FPP) cost included in base rates is $24.15 per megawatt-hour, compared to $26.84 per megawatt-hour in the company’s current rates.

In addition, a tracking mechanism for non-labor operating and maintenance expenses for the Riverton 12 Combined Cycle Unit will be established and tracking of pension and other post-employment benefit expenses will continue.

The agreement also provides for the cost of state-mandated incentives to customers for private solar installations to be included in rates and amortized over a ten-year period.

Said Brad Beecher, President and CEO: “We are pleased all parties were able to come to a unanimous agreement in this case. We are proud of the work completed at our Riverton Power Plant which will ensure we are able to continue to deliver safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for our customers well into the future.”

Based in Joplin, Missouri, Empire District Electric provides electric, natural gas (through its wholly owned subsidiary Empire District Gas Co.), and water service, with approximately 218,000 customers in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.