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Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

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

workinghard 1 year, 2 months ago

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

chicago95 1 year, 2 months 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.

Gedanken 1 year, 2 months 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.

workinghard 1 year, 2 months 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.

sciencegeek 1 year, 2 months ago

But this is Brownbackistan. Business can do no wrong, no matter you they step on in the meantime.

Erin England 1 year, 2 months ago

That is exactly what I was thinking!!! Every account pays per use. Why should residential accounts be footing part of a businesses energy bill? That is part of the cost of a business -- energy usage. That's not an individual user's problem! The majority of us are already maxed out when paying bills! We shouldn't have to pay for a businesses bills, especially ones we don't frequent or even know about.

parrothead8 1 year, 2 months 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.

elliottaw 1 year, 2 months 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

Lisa Medsker 1 year, 2 months 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?

Topple 1 year, 2 months ago

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

Centerville 1 year, 2 months 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.

gatekeeper 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't agree with you, but using your logic then you should realize that it is the Kock's fault. They own the republican party and everything that happens in the House.

Explain how the feds are behind this rate increase?

melott 1 year, 2 months 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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