Kansas regulators to have hearings on Westar rate agreement

? Kansas utility regulators plan hearings later this month on a proposed agreement to allow the state’s largest electric company to raise its annual rates by $78 million.

The agreement involves Westar Energy, a state consumer advocacy agency and other parties in Westar’s rate case before the Kansas Corporation Commission.

The KCC plans to handle procedural issues during a Wednesday meeting at its Topeka offices. It plans to open hearings on the agreement Aug. 17 and has set aside up to five days.

Westar initially sought a $152 million rate increase and said the revenues largely would cover the costs of upgrading power plants.

The company says that under the agreement most households would see their monthly bills rise from $5 to $7. Westar has nearly 700,000 Kansas customers.