Since 2009, Westar Energy has increased its rates 22 times. Over that same period, energy bills for residential users have increased 40 to 50 percent. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur takes a closer look at the company’s most recent rate increase proposal and how it could change the way some customers look at their energy consumption…
Earlier this week, Westar Energy filed a rate increase request that would bring in an additional $152 million a year. According to the company, the added revenue is needed to keep up with government regulations and to maintain its infrastructure.
The Kansas Corporation Commission has approved a plan that would allow Westar Energy to receive about $3.5 million dollars in revenue for making emissions improvements at the La Cygne power plant in eastern Kansas.
Westar also agreed not to ask for a rate increase until March.
About two-thirds of the company's customers are expected to see an increase of about 16 cents on their bills, but they will not pay more until October of 2015.
The Kansas Corporation Commission filed a complaint against Westar Energy at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Wednesday. KMUW's Aileen LeBlanc reports.
According to a press release sent out by the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC), the complaint contends Westar is charging unjust and unreasonable electric transmission rates. If the complaint is granted, Westar’s current rates could be reduced by approximately $15.8 million annually. Based on anticipated utility growth, this figure is expected to approximately double over the next five years.
The Kansas Corporation Commission has approved Westar Energy's rate increase request to help pay for environmental projects. This means residential customers who use about 900 kilowatt hours will pay about 67 cents more per month, for a total of $3.49 of each bill dedicated to environmental projects.
Westar will collect about $58 million to cover its environmental costs. The company had requested $1.2 million more than it received. That's about $11 million more than the utility recovered last year.
An agency that represents small utility customers is asking the state to reject Westar Energy's plan to allow some customers to prepay their bills.
The Citizen's Utility Ratepayer Board filed a motion Monday asking the Kansas Corporation Commission to dismiss Westar's application for the program.
Westar applied in October to allow about 1,000 customers to prepay their bills. The utility says it would allow customers to make smaller payments rather than pay a large bill at the end of the month. KCC deferred the application until May.