Archive for Saturday, May 10, 2008

Westar bills set to increase

May 10, 2008


Westar bills could go up

Westar Energy customers in Lawrence and across the state could see an increase in their electric bills next month. Enlarge video

— Westar Energy customers in Lawrence and across the state soon could see a combined $22 million increase in their electric bills.

"There's a rate increase going into effect that no one knows about," David Springe, consumer counsel of the Citizens' Utility Ratepayer Board, said.

But officials with Westar, the state's largest utility with 675,000 customers, said they're not trying to hide anything.

The increase is a pass-through to customers for the cost of complying with federal environmental regulations, they say. The Kansas Corporation Commission, in a controversial decision in late 2005, allows Westar to recover those costs more quickly rather than including them in rate increase requests that are made every few years.

Westar estimates that if the KCC signed off on the adjustment, which shows up on electric bills as the "Environmental Charge," then the average residential customer will see an increase of about $1.40 per month.

And Jim Ludwig, executive vice president for public affairs, says that cost is going to increase in future years as Westar updates pollution control equipment at its power plants.

"We should have no illusions about the effect that environmental costs will have on rates," Ludwig said. Westar has projected spending $1.2 billion during the next decade for environmental improvements.

Right now, he said, the costs are going up because of equipment being installed at Jeffrey Energy Center near St. Marys, which will reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and particulate matter.

Under an order in 2005, the KCC allows Westar to request passing along those environmental costs to consumers without having to file a major rate case.

Westar made that request in March and the commission is expected to act soon. If approved, the new charges would take effect next month.

CURB's Springe said there should be a more stringent review process of those environmental costs. CURB is a state agency that advocates for residential and small-business utility customers.

"It's a huge shifting of the risk down to the consumers," he said. "The system is not working for consumers."


igby 9 years, 7 months ago

Check out "Blue Pearl", paints. They have 83 home exterior colors that are metallic and UV ray reflective. Looks like fingernail polish when sprayed on after fist coat is brushed on.Effingham Illinois, eng. manufacture.See next post for link:

LogicMan 9 years, 7 months ago

"insulated, heat reflective paints"They are mostly snake oil. An exception is white/aluminum roofing paint for mobile homes, etc.A white-colored paint might slightly reduce your cooling bill if your house is currently dark-colored.But there are much better ways to spend your rebate check, e.g., more attic insulation, caulking, weatherstripping, storm doors (and maybe windows, especially on the north side), compact fluorescent lamps, getting your AC and furnace serviced, installing and using a programmable thermostat, etc.

Bill Griffith 9 years, 7 months ago

BalkansHawk, you might check with Russ Rudy at the State Energy Office in Topeka on your best options. Russ is the man for these types of questions. 785-271-3349 is the office number-I don't know Russ's extension.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 7 months ago

oh, I'm so grateful for the greeniewheenies! locally: carey yDOOM-dranyam. indeed OTTR, this is just the beginning. the greeniewheenies really wish to destroy this country. on the railroad depot rebuild article of a few days ago, some of those lizzards were actually salivating over the $10 per gallon gas potential, that wayus americans could get our punishment! all for a questionable theory built on poor models that don't even account for precipitation. now, recent global climate data indicates we're cooling and april was the coolest month for the earth 29th coolest in all modern recordkeeping. and, if CO2 is outlawed, then only outlaws will breathe. if methane is outlawed, then only outlaws will fart.

xtronics 9 years, 7 months ago

Doing the math that should have done:$22,000,000/675,000 is $32.59 - I'm assuming per year.That would be $2.71. month not $1.40/month.Was Scott Rothschild incapable of the math, relying on Westar, or did someone by him a lunch?

BalkansHawk 9 years, 7 months ago

My house needs to be painted soon. I have read a little about energy saving, insulated, heat reflective paints that are available in the market. Does anyone have any first hand knowledge of these types of paint and how well they work? How about the cost? One company showed how their paint, although more expensive on the surface, coats more of the home with less paint used. It also said that you can paint your roof (i.e. shingles) as well. Any help here would be appreciated.

Centerville 9 years, 7 months ago

It's a little late for David Springe to try to start pretending he's looking out for the consumer. He is just a shill for the governor and, if Scott Rothschild was willing to actually do any reporting, Mr. Springe just stood around while Westar was given the red carpet to rate increases. And this is only the beginning. Westar has been exempted from KCC oversight - which anyone who reads anything besides the LJW already knows.

Bill Griffith 9 years, 7 months ago

Centerville, I do have to disagree somewhat on your opinion of Mr. Springe. Mr. Springe is at odds with what many believe is the governor's position on energy. Without going into a large dollop of administrative docket material from the KCC, the governor would like to be very aggressive on this issue and I am positive she hopes the commissioners are as well, and David Springe would like to slow the train that is leaving the station down somewhat. Also, could you give the documentation to your assertion that "Westar has been exempted from KCC oversight."? Thanks.

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