TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kansas’ U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran is asking some federal agencies for aid for Kansans facing astronomical monthly bills after cold temperatures rocked the state’s utility providers.
Moran made the comments during a tour of the Topeka VA Medical Center’s vaccination site. His work on the energy crisis comes as he recognizes people in the state may face extreme electricity or gas bills after severe weather left hundreds of thousands facing rolling power outages.
The cold temps left the regional power grid Evergy is a part of struggling to keep up with consumer usage of energy, as electricity generators like coal plants and wind turbines suffered malfunctions in the weather. Natural gas ballooned in price with a reduction in supply, causing the Kansas governor to call for a federal investigation into what happened.
“We are working to try to find a solution for a number of communities across Kansas… It is a huge challenge, certainly, COVID hasn’t gone away and it remains a top priority,” Moran said. “But there are Kansans who may receive utility bills that are totally unaffordable, and significant. Hundreds of times more than their normal monthly bill.”
Moran mentioned several options. In particular, he referenced a federal benefits program for low-income families that assists in covering energy bills for heating or cooling in summer or winter months.
“At the moment, we’re in conversations certainly with the Kansas Corporations Commission, with the Association of Communities, talked to mayors and public officials across Kansas, from a Washington D.C. point of view, looking to see whether LIHEAP, the funding that’s available to pay for utility bills in winter, might be available for this. We’ve also talked with FEMA to see if there is a request from the state of Kansas for a disaster declaration, to see what FEMA could provide.”U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran