Justia Kansas Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Utilities Law
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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Kansas Corporation Commission approving a non-unanimous settlement agreement including certain rate design changes at issue in this case, holding that the new rate design violates Kansas law. In 2018, two utilities (Utilities) applied to the Commission for a rate increase. The application included a proposed rate increase of $52.6 million per year and changes in the residential rate design. The new rate structure was applicable only to residential distributed generation (DG) customers. Several parties intervened. Most of the parties reached a settlement agreement, but two of the objecting intervenors appealed. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the new rate design violates Kansas law because Kan. Stat. Ann. 66-117d clearly prohibits the Utilities from price discrimination against DG customers. View "In re Joint Application of Westar Energy & Kansas Gas & Electric Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Utilities Law
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Prairie Land Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Prairie Land), which purchases wholesale electricity from various suppliers and distributes that electricity to retail customers, entered into temporally overlapping, long-term all-requirements contracts with two different wholesale electricity suppliers, Sunflower Electric Power Corporation (Sunflower) and Kansas Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (KEPCo). After a dispute arose regarding which supplier had the right to serve a certain pumping station delivery point, Prairie Land filed a petition for declaratory judgment asking the district court to determine which supplier was entitled to serve the new delivery point. The district court ruled in favor of Sunflower, which entered into the first all-requirements contract with Prairie Land. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals’ decision and affirmed the district court’s judgment, holding that under the facts of this case, Prairie Land must meet its obligations under its contract with Sunflower, the first supplier, before it may comply with any obligations under its contract with KEPCo, the second supplier. View "Prairie Land Elec. Coop., Inc. v. Kan. Elec. Power Coop., Inc." on Justia Law

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Kansas One-Call System (One-Call) managed and operated a centralized notification center for diggers working on underground utility infrastructure to use before they started excavating pursuant to the Kansas Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act (KUUDPA). The Kansas Legislature later amended the KUUPDA, which financially affected One-Call. One-Call sued to enjoin enforcement of the amendments on the grounds that the amendments violated (1) the original purpose provision of the Kansas Constitution, (2) the one-subject rule, (3) the separation of powers doctrine, and (4) the Equal Protection Clause and the Taking Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the State. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the challenged amendments were valid. View "Kansas One-Call Sys. v. State" on Justia Law