Westar response

To the editor:

Your October 21 editorial says, “Westar leaders have used Wittig : as a reason why the public should pay higher rates and help shareholders reap a reasonable profit.”

That portion of your editorial is wrong.

Westar shareholders have entirely shouldered the losses suffered under former Westar senior management. We have not proposed that customers bear any costs associated with past senior management’s abuses or failed business strategies. We have made that point throughout the hearings before the Kansas Corporation Commission.

The point was even driven home by a witness for the Citizens Utility Ratepayer Board, who testified that Westar has excluded all such costs.

Westar’s request is based on its costs to provide reliable electric service. Westar’s current rates on average are the lowest of any company regulated by the KCC and will remain so even if the KCC grants our request in full. Westar’s rates today are lower than they were in 1985. Like any company, many of our costs have increased over the last 20 years. We have been able to absorb most of those cost increases while improving service reliability. For example:

¢ The minutes on average that a customer was out of power improved from 170 in 2002 to 117 in 2004.

¢ The number of times on average a customer lost power dropped from 1.72 in 2002 to 1.37 in 2004.

¢ Westar’s rate of answering customers’ calls has improved from about 89 percent in 2002 to about 97 percent this year.

James Haines,

president and CEO,