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Kansas Regulators Block Purchase of Westar Energy by Great Plains Energy

KCC Commissioners Shari Feist Albrecht, Pat Apple and Jay Scott Emler. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

Kansas regulators Wednesday blocked the $12 billion purchase of Topeka-based Westar Energy by Great Plains Energy. Members of the Kansas Corporation Commission raised concerns that the purchase price was too high and there wouldn’t be enough efficiencies created to guarantee lower costs to customers.

The order from the commission called the proposal "too risky."

David Nickel is with the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board, which represents consumers. He said the only testimony in favor of the merger came from the two companies.
 
“It didn’t make economic sense, and it really put the ratepayer at risk for anything that might go wrong,” said Nickel.
 
The companies can appeal the decision. Gina Penzig, with Westar, says they haven’t decided if they’ll continue to pursue the merger
 
“We think that it was good for Kansas. We think that it was going to bring a lot of benefits to customers," said Penzig. "We’re going to sit down, we’re going to take a look at the order and determine what the next steps are."
 
Missouri-based Great Plains is the parent of Kansas City Power and Light. Had the purchase gone forward, the combined companies would have 950,000 customers in Kansas.
 

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