Kansas Regulators Urged to Approve Westar Rate-Hike Deal
Attorneys in Westar Energy’s rate hike compromise agreement are urging the Kansas Corporation Commission not to change any terms of the deal. The compromise would allow Westar, the state's largest electric company, to increase its rates by about 4 percent. The commission held a public hearing yesterday (MON) on the deal struck by Westar Energy with a consumer advocacy board, state utility regulators and the company's largest customers. Westar had originally asked for a $152 million rate increase but that was reduced in the negotiations to about $78 million. David Springe of the Citizens Utility Ratepayer Board says the monthly service charge for consumers is a big improvement over Westar’s original proposal. "That monthly customer charge should stay the same for at least 3 years, which provides customers some certainty." Springe said. "Obviously, the commission heard an awful lot from people who didn't want their monthly service charge going to $27." Most Kansas households would see their electric bills increase by $5 to $7 a month. Westar Energy has requested the rate increase to upgrade Kansas power plants to meet new federal environmental standards.