Westar Energy Inc. customers will see their electric bills rise by an average of 11 percent later this year.
The Kansas Corporation Commission on Wednesday approved a $130 million rate increase for the state’s largest electric utility. The Topeka-based company’s shareholders will see a return on their equity of about 10.4 percent.
Westar serves more than 675,000 retail customers in Kansas.
The rate increase, expected to go into effect within 30 days, follows a settlement reached in October between Westar, state regulatory staff, an agency representing consumers and four other parties.
Westar last year asked the commission, which regulates utilities, for a 15 percent rate increase, generating $177 million in annual revenues and a return for shareholders of nearly 11 percent.
But in the resulting rate case before the commission, its staff and the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayers Board had proposed significantly smaller increases and lower returns for shareholders. The citizens’ board is a state agency representing residential and small-business customers.
Up to $90 million of the additional revenue will reimburse Westar for damage from the December 2007 ice storms and for its investment in wind farms and a gas-fired power plant in Emporia. The agreement also allows Westar to file smaller rate cases to recover incremental costs of the wind energy and Emporia projects after the projects are completed.
Westar’s last rate increase was in December 2005 when the commission granted a $3 million increase, far below the $84.1 million the company requested.