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Reviewing Westar Purchase Could Stress Budget of Kansas Consumer Advocacy Agency

Kansas utility regulators are beginning to review the proposed purchase of Westar Energy by Great Plains Energy. The size of the case could stretch the budget of the group that advocates on behalf of Kansas utility customers.
David Nickel is with the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board, a state agency that is studying the deal to determine if it will be good for consumers. Nickel says arguments this particular case will consume a lot of resources, and if other cases come up, the agency could be left short on cash.

“Our options primarily are to go back to the Legislature to ask for additional funding due to something that we could not have anticipated when the budget was set for this fiscal year, which would have been set in 2015,” says Nickel.
CURB is funded through fees paid by utility consumers.
Nickel says they’ll be submitting testimony in the Westar case later this year and the review by state regulators will take place in 2017.

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