State board proposes cut in Westar Energy’s rates

? A state board that represents residential customers and small businesses in Kansas is recommending an $11.6 million cut in the electric rates charged by Westar Energy.

The Citizens’ Utility Ratepayers Board filed its proposal Thursday with the Kansas Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities.

Topeka-based Westar is the largest electric utility in Kansas, and it’s seeking a rate increase of nearly $91 million. It says it needs the increase to retain its employees, upgrade its transmission grid and provide the service customers expect.

But CURB said the regulatory commission should hold Westar’s profits to less than 9 percent, not the 10.6 percent the company has proposed. CURB also wants the commission to allow less generous compensation for management than Westar’s rate increase would permit.