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Protecting Residential Utility Customers: Summary of 2015 AARP Survey of Kansas Voters

Kansas voters age 45-plus report that an increase in their utility bill would be a problem for them; furthermore they do not feel as if their elected officials are doing enough to lower their utility bills. Those who are Westar Energy customers oppose a requested 7.9 percent rate increase for the cost of mandated state and federal environmental upgrades to comply with clean air regulations, improvements to the Wolf Creek Nuclear Generating Station, and investments to protect against power outages.  Overall, voters want greater consumer protections, financial transparency and accountability as it relates to the utility companies and rate increases.

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  • More than eight in ten registered voters 45-plus in Kansas report that an increase in their household utility bill would be a major (43%) or a minor (39%) problem for them.
  • Kansas voters who are also Westar Energy customers oppose (55%) a requested 7.9 percent rate increase for the cost of mandated state and federal environmental upgrades to comply with clean air regulations and improvements to the generating station.
  • Most (79%) voters age 45-plus oppose the utility companies efforts to increase the fixed monthly customer charge, which is charged to customers prior to using the gas or electric services of the utility company.
  • Voters also oppose (88%) the proposal by utility companies allowing them to charge automatic rate increases for infrastructure and grid improvements before the state utility commission has completed a rate review.
  • Nearly all respondents (90%) believe that when a utility company is found to have higher profits than authorized, the company should be required to reset customer rates.

The AARP 2015 Kansas Utility Survey was conducted as a telephone survey among registered voters age 45-plus in the state of Kansas. The survey collected the opinions of Kansas registered voters on issues related to utility bills, and the Citizens Utility Ratepayer Board. The interviews were conducted in English by Precision Opinion from June 24th to June 28th, 2015. For more information contact Cassandra Burton at CCantave@aarp.org.