Community Engagement

Valley Center, Kansas Takes Steps To Consider Public Power Option

The City of Valley Center, Kansas, recently took steps to consider the possible formation of a public power utility including city council approval of the formation of a public power steering committee.

The action took place at a Jan. 18 meeting of the Valley Center City Council.

Councilmembers heard a presentation from City Administrator Brent Clark. At the start of his presentation, Clark played a video prepared by the American Public Power Association (APPA) that provides a description and benefits of public power.

The city’s current power provider is investor-owned Evergy.

“What is before you this evening is to really start the process of exploring” the public power option, Clark said. “It’s not locking you in in any way, shape or form to actually” becoming a public power utility or municipalizing, he said.

In detailing the benefits of public power, Clark noted that on average public power utility rates are 10 to 15 percent lower than investor-owned utilities. There is also a focus on community needs, he said, and public power offers higher reliability, he said. Moreover, public power communities help attract and retain businesses, he noted.

The city council approved an ordinance that grants Evergy Kansas South an electric franchise to supply power to the city for a one-year term with automatic renewals for additional one-year terms.

In addition, the council approved a proposal to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for companies that could perform a feasibility study related to possible municipalization.

The council also voted in favor of forming a public power steering committee. Clark noted that the committee will “work with us to draft the RFP, to finalize the RFP and to solicit and receive those proposals and review them.”

In his closing remarks, Clark recommended that city council members visit APPA’s website for additional information about public power.