News Briefs

Evergy pays $500K to settle consumer protection investigation into worthless warranties

By: - July 20, 2022 5:43 pm
Evergy headquarters in downtown Topeka (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Evergy headquarters in downtown Topeka (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas’ largest electric utility, Evergy, must pay $500,000 for allegedly violating consumer protection laws by sponsoring home electrical warranties that provided no benefit.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office announced the agreement between prosecutors and Evergy in a news release Wednesday. Evergy was not ordered to pay restitution. Asked how many customers were affected, Schmidt’s spokesman, John Milburn, said “other entities related to this matter remain under investigation” and the office couldn’t provide more info. 

Of the $500,000 payment, $480,000 will go to Schmidt’s office and $20,000 will repay investigative funds.

Evergy agreed to pay the state as part of a consent decree and does not admit to the state’s allegations.

According to the news release, Evergy’s predecessor, Westar, was affiliated with HomeServe USA from September 2014 through December 2019. Through the affiliation, Evergy “sponsored and approved electrical home warranties that failed to provide a material benefit to consumers and made material misrepresentations in violation of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act.”

As part of the consent decree, Evergy, going forward, must provide a disclosure that it was compensated for use of its logo in marketing materials and will not allow third party companies to use its logo “in a way that a reasonable person would believe the solicitation originated from Evergy.”

Evergy’s spokeswoman, Gina Penzig, said in a statement that the settlement “resolves an outstanding legal concern related to HomeServe’s marketing of its products to Westar Energy customers years ago.”

“Evergy denies any legal violation, and the agreement is not an admission of wrongdoing by Evergy,” she said, adding that Evergy did not continue Westar’s contract with HomeServe after Westar and Kansas City Power & Light merged to form Evergy.

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Allison Kite
Allison Kite

Allison Kite is a data reporter for The Missouri Independent and Kansas Reflector, with a focus on the environment and agriculture. A graduate of the University of Kansas, she’s covered state government in both Topeka and Jefferson City, and most recently was City Hall reporter for The Kansas City Star.