electricity

Scott Canon / Kansas News Service

Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy, the parent company of Kansas City Power & Light Co., won approval from state regulators Thursday to merge as equals.

That clears the way for a combined company worth $14 billion serving more than 1.6 million customers in Kansas and Missouri.

Michael Mazengarb / flickr Creative Commons

A couple dozen people showed up Tuesday night in Topeka to voice their concerns about Westar Energy’s proposed rate increase.

Westar is asking the Kansas Corporation Commission to increase prices by about $52 million. That's after taking into account savings from changes to the federal corporate income tax.

The increase would cost the average Westar customer about $5.90 a month.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Perhaps conserving energy is important to you. You’ve switched out all of your incandescent light bulbs with LEDs. You keep your thermostat set at 78 in the summer. You might even get mad at your kids when they leave a light on.

Your neighbor, on the other hand, isn’t quite as concerned. He keeps the thermostat set consistently at 68 and he hasn’t replaced any of his light bulbs because, in his words, who wants to pay $10 for a new one?

Brian Grimmett / KMUW

Early on the morning of March 16, wind provided 60 percent of the region’s electric needs. That number set a record, breaking an earlier one set only a week and a half earlier.

Wind power also recently set records for highest peak generation at 15,690 MW and continuously sustained generation of more than 13,000 MW for three days.

Brian Grimmett / KMUW

A resolution pending in the Kansas Legislature would urge, but not require, state regulators to make electric rates more competitive.

Westar Energy is asking to raise the rates on residential and small business customers and lower the rates for large businesses.

Homeowners or small businesses would pay 6 to 9 percent more under Westar Energy's latest plan. Big businesses that buy lots of power would pay 6 to 15 percent less.

Westar officials say industrial users and other large-volume customers are paying more than their share.