Topeka Westar Energy would receive a $50 million rate increase under a proposed settlement announced Monday.
The proposed agreement was filed by the staff of the Kansas Corporation Commission and Westar. It will next go to the three-member KCC for consideration.
David Springe, consumer counsel of the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board, said that the settlement was too high and that CURB will fight it.
Westar had initially sought a $91 million electric rate increase. KCC staff had recommended a $33.6 million increase, while CURB recommended a rate decrease of $11.6 million by reducing shareholder profit and executive bonuses.
Officials with Westar, the state’s largest electric company in Kansas, had said the increase was needed to maintain a reliable system, comply with environmental regulations and keep its commitments to the employee pension system, which was hurt by stock market losses.
Under the proposed $50 million increase, approximately $41 million would be paid by residential and small business customers with the remainder spread to larger businesses.
The proposed agreement would also allow a 10 percent shareholder profit.
“If there is one thing we heard very clearly from Westar’s customers at the public hearings is that a 10 percent shareholder profit is simply unacceptable in these difficult economic times,” Springe said.
Springe urged customers to contact the KCC and ask them to throw out the settlement. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail can be sent to Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, 1500 SW Arrowhead Road, Topeka, KS 66604-4027. Reference KCC Docket No. 12-WSEE-112-RTS.