Archive for Thursday, January 22, 2009

Expect Westar bill to rise 11% later this year

January 22, 2009


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.


Thinking_Out_Loud 9 years, 1 month ago

Too late, hawkperchedatriverfront. Our friends up the hill are, indeed, feeling the pinch. (Please refer to the front page of today's LJW.)

cowboy 9 years, 1 month ago

I hope Obama's initiatives will spur the solar industry to build some cost effective systems. Be nice to be able to get off the grid

Chris Ogle 9 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence divided:one group bitches about not enough to use, and the other bitches about too much to pay. Hint, I PAY way too much.

jafs 9 years, 1 month ago

A 10.4% return on a very safe investment seems a bit high to me.Utitlities are traditionally a safe but low-return investment.

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