Topeka Westar Energy Inc. officials will take their request for an $84.1 million rate increase on the road this week to face public scrutiny.
The first public hearing will be at 7 p.m. Thursday in Pittsburg. Hearings are scheduled later in Topeka, Salina and Wichita.
A decision on the rate request will be made by the three-member Kansas Corporation Commission no later than Dec. 28.
Westar, the state's largest electric utility, provides power to nearly 700,000 customers, including those in Lawrence.
Under the company's proposal, Westar retail electric rates in Lawrence and the surrounding region would increase an average of 10.5 percent for residential customers, and 9.6 percent for small general service customers, according to the KCC.
Both the KCC staff and state consumer office are scheduled to make their rate recommendations by Friday.
"It's fairly safe to say, Westar won't be very happy," said Nikki Christopher, an attorney with the Citizens' Utility Ratepayer Board.
The public hearings will be conducted in two parts. First there will be a question-and-answer period for customers to speak with the KCC staff and Westar representatives. Then, customers will be allowed to make statements to the KCC.
Written statements can be made to the KCC through Oct. 16.
Public hearings are scheduled for Sept. 26 in Topeka, Oct. 3 in Salina and Oct. 6 in Wichita. All hearings start at 7 p.m.
Where to write
If you are unable to attend any of the public hearings, but wish to be heard on Westar's rate increase request, the Kansas Corporation Commission will accept written comments through Oct. 16.
Comments should reference Docket No. 05-WSEE-981-RTS and be sent to the Kansas Corporation Commission, Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, 1500 S.W. Arrowhead Road, Topeka 66604-4027.