Westar Energy, which serves more than 687,000 utility customers in Kansas, is asking the Kansas Corporation Commission for a $90.8 million rate increase. That’s on top of 15 rate increases since 2009 totaling almost $390 million.
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“Westar customers can’t get a break,” said David Springe, Consumer Counsel for the Citizens Utility Ratepayer Board or CURB. “The number of customers who simply can’t pay their electric bill is increasing and unfortunately, Westar says it will spend an additional $2.3 billion on construction between 2011-2013, meaning customer rates are going to continue to increase.”
CURB issued a news release January 5, 2012 recommending that Westar’s rate increase request be reduced to $33.6 million which includes:
- Reducing funding for shareholder profit from 10.6% to 8.85%
- Removing $13 million for management incentive and bonus compensation pay
- Reducing the tree trimming budget from a $20 million increase to a $14 million increase
- Reducing Westar’s requested rate case and regulatory expense by $1 million
- Designing residential rate to minimize the increase for the first 900 Kwh of summer use, and increase the rate for usage above 900 Kwh
“Older Kansans on fixed incomes and others who have lost their jobs or haven’t seen an increase in pay for several years simply cannot afford continued increases in their utility bills,” said AARP Director Maren Turner. “Kansans should tell the KCC that enough is enough!”
AARP Kansas is encouraging Westar customers to contact the Kansas Corporation Commission through Wednesday, February 8, 2012 and ask them to stop giving in to Westar. Contact the Kansas Corporation Commission at 1-800-236-9169 and tell them to stop the Westar rate increases.