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Westar residential rates would go up $3 per month under proposed settlement

September 23, 2013

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— Residential customers of Westar Energy would see a $3 per month increase in their electric bills under a proposed settlement announced today.

The proposal will next go to the Kansas Corporation Commission on Thursday for consideration.

Westar originally wanted to increase residential and small business rates while reducing rates paid by big businesses and industrial customers. Under Westar's initial request, residential customers would have paid $7.50 more per month.

But under the settlement, that "re-balancing" of rates won't happen.

"What didn't happen was the huge revenue shift," said David Springe, consumer counsel for the Citizens' Utility Ratepayer Board, which represents residential customers and small businesses.

Under the proposal, Westar will receive a $30.7 million rate increase, which it says it needs for environmental improvements at the La Cygne coal-fired power plant in eastern Kansas.

Of that increase, residential customers would pay approximately $18 million more; small general businesses, such as downtown stores, $12.7 million; medium-sized businesses, $3.9 million; large industrial customers, $3.2 million; cities and other street lighting customers, $2.1 million; and school districts, $500,000.

Under a separate contract, Occidental Chemical plant in Wichita, one of Westar's largest customers, will receive a $9.7 million rate reduction.

For residential customers, the $3 increase represents about a 2.5 percent hike, Springe said.

During a public hearing in July, Westar officials said more of the rates needed to be paid by residential customers because big businesses were paying more than their fair share.

But dozens of speakers disagreed.

Comments

melott 6 months, 3 weeks ago

What is meant by the $3 figure? $3 added to everyone's bill? An AVERAGE increase of $3 for the average residential bill? HUH?

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Larry Moss 6 months, 3 weeks ago

$3.00 that seems fair.........

Especially, considering Obamas' EPA ruling on coal is expected to raise energy cost much. much, much higher that that. Some places, heavy coal dependent, are looking at a 40-50% increase. Swell!

And the Koch brothers will have had nothing at all to do with it.

We can all thank Uncle Barry for that.

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Centerville 6 months, 3 weeks ago

This isn't the Kochs' fault. It's our federal government's fault. It really doesn't give a rip what you think - it just keeps making newer and more expensive rules for your financial support.

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Topple 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Do Koch facilities use Westar? If so, this makes perfect sense.

3

Keith Richards 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Something is seriously wrong when you give a multi-billion dollar, international petroleum and chemical company an almost $10 million yearly break on their utilities, but raise rates on every other consumer. Oxy only had $24,000,000,000.00 in revenue and $6,000,000,000.00 in income in 2011, to bad they couldn't afford their share of utilities.

9

ridikkulus 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Wow. Is there anything that would keep power companies honest? I smell Koch ALL OVER this little drug deal: "Westar officials said more of the rates needed to be paid by residential customers because big businesses were paying more than their fair share."

Don't we all pay "per use"? Or does Big Business not only wiggle out of paying tax of any kind, they have us footing the bill for their power, too? When does it end?

4

Number_1_Grandma 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Westar should NOT be allowed to be a publicly traded stock. They are only beholding to the shareholders to make sure they get a 10 percent return to look good to shareholders and the hell with us ratepayers! The public uses less electricity but rates keep going up; they will keep raising rates too. Westar is FULLY aware of electrical lines that need replaced but wont because of expense don't look good to shareholders. The ratepayers continue to have power outages because of these outdated lines. Westar calls these "act of gawd" so can replace lines at ratepayers expense, usually during storms; blaming storms instead of outdated lines. Ever notice how many times lights dim, flicker and then go off only to come back on quickly; causing havoc on TV's and electronic equipment? Thank Westar for being greedy and only caring about shareholders and NOT ratepayers when you have to buy new ones prematurely. By the way, check for yourself on these outdated electrical underground lines; life expectancy all over town. Most have a 40 yr life and been there for going on 50-60 yrs. Westar knows it and still refuses to replace these lines at their (shareholders) expense only passing on to ratepayers! Call Kansas Corporation Commission and demand they say "NO" to rate increases until Westar quits being public traded stock caring only about shareholders!

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elliottaw 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Well with the giant break stores are going to be seeing the prices of the things they are selling should start dropping ..... Probably not though

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parrothead8 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Under the proposal, Westar will receive a $30.7 million rate increase...Of that increase, residential customers would pay approximately $18 million more; small general businesses, such as downtown stores, $12.7 million; medium-sized businesses, $3.9 million; large industrial customers, $3.2 million; cities and other street lighting customers, $2.1 million; and school districts, $500,000.

18+12.7+3.9+3.2+2.1+.5 = $40.4 million, not $30.7 million.

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workinghard 6 months, 3 weeks ago

"Westar officials said more of the rates needed to be paid by residential customers because big businesses were paying more than their fair share." And they use more than their fair share. In life, everyone pays for what they use, why would electricity be any different. This will open the door for businesses to ask that the same be applied to natural gas and water, just wait.

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Gedanken 6 months, 3 weeks ago

CEO: What type of revenue increase do we need?
CFO: I think we need to raise residential rates by at least $3 a month.
CEO: $3!! That is easy. We will just ask for $7.50 a month increase. The rate board will reject it and make a deal to cut it in half. They get to look like they did their job and we get what we want.

6

chicago95 6 months, 3 weeks ago

This information is almost impossible to interpret in this form. For background, find Westar's filing before the KCC here: http://estar.kcc.ks.gov/estar/portal/kcc/page/docket-docs/PSC/DocketDetails.aspx?DocketId=bd3e9b41-5be6-4018-a5aa-cc868f39af85 . Existing and proposed revenue and rates appear on pages 75-76 (Section 16) of the Application. Also find Westar's rationale in Sections 1 and 2 of the same document.

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workinghard 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Is this the same rate increase they were talking about that it was said would be 45 cents?

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