Topeka Between 150 and 200 jobs in the Topeka area will be lost over the next three to five years as Kansas City Power & Light merges with Westar Energy, according to an official with Great Plains Energy.
Great Plains spokesman Chuck Caisley said Wednesday that roughly the same amount of jobs will be lost in the Kansas City area, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. KCPL is a subsidiary of Great Plains Energy.
If the merger is approved, Westar and KCPL will become a single electric company straddling the Kansas-Missouri border, with 1.5 million customers.
Company officials said most of the job losses could be handled through retirements and other vacancies, because of a 4 to 5 percent attrition rate in the utility industry.
“Where there are duplicative departments in both cities, positions would be eliminated in order to achieve the savings that has to occur for the merger to make sense,” Mayor Larry Wolgast said. “It is always unfortunate to lose jobs in Topeka, especially for the individuals and families involved. But I am confident this will be handled in a manner that is least detrimental to those involved.”
Caisley’s comments came days after Great Plains filed a rebuttal to Kansas Corporation Commission staff filings. KCC staff recommended in the filings that their company’s commissioners reject the acquisition of Westar, but Great Plains said KCC staff gave no real explanation as to why the acquisition should be rejected.