Log in

Editorial Roundup: Kansas


Topeka Capital-Journal. March 8, 2024.

Editorial: Rising profits aren’t stopping Kansas Gas Service from asking for more from consumers

Once again we see a utility asking the Kansas Corporation Commission to approve a rate increase despite that company posting a profit in the previous year.

The Topeka Capital-Journal’s Jason Alatidd reports Kansans could soon be paying more for natural gas as Kansas Gas Service has asked state regulators for permission to raise base rates by $58 million. This comes on the heels of an electric rate hike by Evergy. A measure we opposed.

If the Kansas Corporation Commission approves the request, residential users of natural gas would see their average monthly bills go up by about $6.71 or $9.48, depending on whether you use less or more.

Alatidd reports Kansas Gas Service, a division of ONE Gas Inc., filed the rate case with the KCC on March 1. Additionally, it’s worth noting that ONE Gas reported its corporate net income was $231.2 million in 2023, up from $221.7 million in 2022. The 2024 guidance predicts net income will be between $214 million and $231 million.

We’re opposed to the rate increase.

There are plenty of factors to consider in this case including that KGS hasn’t asked for a rate increase in five years. Nevertheless, it’s hard to stomach or support a higher price for a utility when the company is making a strong profit.

Let’s be clear here — we aren’t opposed to ONE Gas making a profit. It is a business, but when you’re practically the only show in town for a utility, you should want to at least attempt to meet your customers where they’re at.

If you’re making that much of a profit, why do you need to increase the rates? It feels tone deaf in light of the profits KGS has posted and projections for this year.

An extra $6 to $9 a month adds up quickly for many Kansas residents. Furthermore, the service KGS provides is a utility — it’s not something people can simply do without.

It’s not feasible for the average Kansan to simply shut off gas service and go without. We need the service to heat our homes, provide warm water and other necessary functions in our homes.

There’s also little competition as KGS is the largest natural gas public utility in Kansas with more than 648,000 customers across 360 communities and few viable alternatives.

What would a customer do if they sought service elsewhere? They’d likely be up a creek.