No one likes increasing energy prices. Missouri residents are aware of the upcoming changes to their electricity billing at the hands of Evergy. But the large energy price hikes are having another impact across the state line in Kansas — it’s making it harder to hire teachers.
Keep reading to learn more about increasing energy prices in Missouri and Kansas, how it’s impacting teacher hiring in Kansas, and what it means for the future.
Evergy’s Ever-Increasing Energy Prices
The price of energy has been steadily rising for years, and 2022 saw the largest single-year price increase in more than a decade. According to Statista, in 2022, energy prices were up 10.7% over 2021. In 2023, they’re up another 4.2%.
While this is happening as a general trend throughout the U.S., local electric companies are doing their part to enact rate hikes of their own. In Missouri, Evergy’s new time-based energy plans are coming for residential customers. All current plans will be replaced with the new rates — rates that depend on the time of day you’re using electricity.
With the new plans starting in October, customers are being asked to select their new plan from four time-based options. Those who don’t select their new plan in time will have their accounts automatically converted to Evergy’s “standard” plan.
The Standard Peak Saver, Evergy’s new default plan, may not do much saving. With the Standard Peak Saver plan, customers will experience an increase in the per-kilowatt hour rate between 4pm-8pm on weekdays from June to September. During those times, the price will more than triple, rising from $0.09 to $0.38 per kilowatt hour. A 322% increase!
And while this change hasn’t yet come to Kansas, most in the industry feel that it’s only a matter of time before Kansans are forced to adopt similar time-of-use plans with similarly extreme rate hikes. However, rates in Kansas are already rising.
Evergy Requests a 25% Rate Hike in Some Parts of Kansas
Any rate hike is annoying — Evergy has recently proposed a 5.9% increase on residential customers in the Kansas Metro region, nearest to Kansas City.
But imagine your electricity bill suddenly increasing by 25%. That’s exactly what Evergy is planning for customers in the Kansas Central region, which includes Topeka, Wichita, and parts of Johnson County.
According to research by the Kansas City Star:
“If state regulators approve Evergy’s rate request with no modifications, the company projects that residential customers in the Kansas Metro region will see their bills rise by $3.47 per month on average. That comes out to an extra $41.62 per year.
The company projects that residential customers in the Kansas Central region will see their monthly bills rise by $14.42 on average. That comes out to an extra $173.04 per year. These figures come from a combination of higher electricity costs and small decreases to other charges on customers’ bills… according to Evergy’s filing documents.”
Not only are these rate increases hitting individuals, but businesses — including educational institutions — are bracing for impact. And the results could be wide-reaching with impacts years into the future.
How Energy Prices Impact Class Sizes and Education
Several large school districts in Kansas — including Wichita, De Soto, Shawnee Mission, Olathe and Blue Valley — have spoken out against the 25% rate hikes, according to the Kansas City Star. And it’s not just because of the significantly increased costs themselves, but because of what that means for the school districts.
In large school districts such as those listed above, electricity expenditures often tally in the millions of dollars per year. Now, increase that by 25% more, and we’re really not talking about an insignificant amount of money.
It’s no secret that the U.S. is facing a teacher shortage, which has been exacerbated over the last few years as a result of the pandemic and other factors. Some school districts are getting creative in their pursuit of new teachers, such as moving to four-day school weeks.
While that can help, school districts that need to spend significantly more on electricity lose out on a major incentive that can attract and retain teachers: money.
And when school districts aren’t able to hire enough teachers, it leads to less optimal outcomes for everyone. Class sizes must be larger, which means students don’t receive as much personalized attention as they would in a smaller class. The teachers who are working with larger classes more often experience stress and burnout from being spread too thin.
As a result, many schools are looking for ways to go green and save on electricity — and even teach their students about sustainability along the way. Keep an eye out for news about our partnership with Washington High School in Kansas City, MO, for whom we recently installed solar panels!
If You Want Stable Energy Prices, Solar Could Be For You
If you are looking for the best solar company in Kansas City, look no further than KC Solar. They are your local Kansas City solar panel installation experts. Once you schedule a no-pressure site visit, our experts will help you understand what solar system specifications would be best for your home or business.
KC Solar is a local company made up of KC natives with KC pride — in our city, and in our work. Which means we’ll always give you the best of ourselves.
And be sure to download our Free Solar Panel Buying Guide for more information.