Customers voice concerns about proposed Westar rate increase

WICHITA, Kansas – You probably first heard of Westar’s rate request in a flier in your electric bill.

The company wants to hike rates 7.9%, or $152 million to pay for mandated environmental upgrades.

The rate hike would cost the average user an estimated $9 to $13 a month.

Thursday night, a public hearing was held by the Kansas Corporation Commission, allowing concerned customers to voice their concerns.

John Andrade, a Wichita resident for 50 years and a Westar customer is frustrated by the proposed rate hikes.

“We’re already paying high rates as it is and to ask for more and more every time they turn around is just absurd,” said Andrade.

Speakers and representatives from Westar, the Citizens Utility Ratepayer Board (CURB) and the KCC addressed questions from the crowd during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Gina Penzig, the Media Relations Director with Westar says they’ve increased rates 23 times since 2009, lowering rates four times in that span.

Penzig says one reason is to meet with federal standards.

“We’ve brought emissions down at our plants dramatically over the past few years with the investments we’ve made, while our prices have gone up we remain competitive, they remain below the national average,” said Penzig.

The KCC will continue to take the public’s written comments until August 11th.

If you would like to comment you send them by email to public.affairs@kcc.ks.gov

They will then have an evidentiary hearing on August 17th, ultimately making their decision on October 28th.

 

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