Westar customers react to rate hike

Powerline (KSN File Photo)

TOPEKA, Kansas – Westar Energy is seeking a rate increase that’s expected to cost most residential customers an average of about 25 cents more a month.

The utility has filed documents with the Kansas Corporation Commission requesting a rate increase.

It is for $6 million dollars costing the average household about 25 cents more a month.

“To me, they just want more money that’s what it is, it’s a business they’re just looking to make more of a profit in my opinion because the service isn’t getting any better or any quicker,” said Charles Fallot, Wichita.

Westar officials say there’s more to the picture.

“It’s important to keep the company financially healthy which means that the revenue coming in has to reflect the cost of doing business,” said Westar spokeswoman Gina Penzig

The cost of doing business is going up.

Penzig says the company is in the process of investing more than $2 billion in improvements within the company.

Nearly $1.5 billion is going towards keeping their power plants up to federal standards for clean air, and $1.2 billion is going to building more transmission lines which can help with getting lower costing power to some areas and increasing reliability to others.

Penzig also notes that so long as there aren’t any new regulations put in place, residents should see more moderate rate increases in the future, but with seeing what seems like an increase in power outages, the costs just don’t seem to be adding up.

“I understand with a city growing and stuff, you gotta hire more people get more equipment all that stuff, but you can’t even take care of what you got already,” said Fallot.

Now as far as future outages are concerned, officials from Westar say they’re trying to take a more predictive and proactive approach to issues.

They actually say the power outage a week ago was actually caused partially by them not finishing their work fast enough in hopes of preventing outages once summer temperatures hit.

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