Like any natural disaster, a relatively short-term event can result in long-term pain.
Such is the case economically from the bitterly cold extended federal holiday weekend of Feb. 13-16.
Electricity customers in Blue Mound and Prescott, along with natural gas customers at La Cygne, are probably most at risk in the near term to face huge upward energy cost adjustments.
All three purchase their affected utilities through the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency (KMEA) rather than directly from investor-owned corporate utilities.
On Feb. 12, a Friday trading day leading into a three-day Presidents’ Day holiday weekend with no energy-sector trading, a free-market supply-and-demand price index spike of 10,000 percent from $3 to $325 per MMBtu (one million British thermal units) forced KMEA to lock in $30 million natural gas and $9 million electricity purchases for a four-day period to assure service to its municipal customers.
With a sample created by the League of Kansas Municipalities (LKM), all three cities have since passed resolutions of financial emergency: La Cygne on Feb. 23 and Prescott last Friday at special meetings, Blue Mound at Monday’s regular monthly meeting.
For Blue Mound electricity customers, Max Krull, city clerk, said to expect a one-time $300 energy adjustment fee on its April 1-issued bill for each of its 140 meters, with consumption costs per kilowatt-hour added on.
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