Westar Energy reaches deal on rate hike

Power outages
Westar Energy crews work on a power line. (KSN File Photo)

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WICHITA, Kansas – The state’s largest utility has reached a deal that will enable it to make one of its power plants compliant with federal standards at the cost of consumers.

Westar Energy will raise $30.7 million with a rate hike affecting all types of customers if the settlement is approved by the state later this year.

It means a $3 a month increase for all residential customers.

“We do everything we can to keep costs down, but it’s something we weigh heavily on before we ask to corporation commission to increase the rates,” Nick Bundy, a spokesperson with Westar Energy, said.

The proceeds will go toward making Westar’s La Cygne power plant in eastern Kansas fully compliant with EPA mandates.

Some residents questioned the need for a rate hike at a time when peoples’ wallets are tighter than ever.

“I think it’s high enough as it is and I don’t think it should go up any more,” Annette Baker said. “Everything is going up except wages, so I don’t think people can afford that.”

Others did not think it would make a difference.

“It’s unfortunate, but 3 bucks a month, I’m probably not going to notice,” Jeff White said.

$18 million will come from residential customers, $12.7 million will be collected from small business customers, and other businesses will see increases while others may see a decrease.

The settlement has to be approved by the Kansas Corporations Commission. If approved, the rate hike could take effect in late December.

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