Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mark your Calendars: Public Hearings are scheduled to discuss Westar Energy's proposed 15% rate hike

Kansas regulators have scheduled hearings on a proposal from Westar Energy Inc. for a 15% increase in electric rates.

The Kansas Corporation Commission has scheduled hearings for Sept. 2-4 in Salina, Topeka and Wichita to take public testimony. It has scheduled 12 days of hearings in Topeka starting Oct. 29 for attorneys to question Westar executives, utility consultants and others.

State law gives the commission until Jan. 23 to rule on Westar's proposal.

The Topeka-based company estimates homeowners and apartment dwellers would see their monthly bills increase $10. It says it needs an additional $178 million a year in revenues to cover the costs of new power plants and wind farms and to help it recover from winter storms.

Each of the September hearings begins at 7 p.m. with an hourlong informational session, followed by the testimony. There is a hearing scheduled for Wichita on Sept. 4 at the Century II convention center. The other hearings are Sep. 2-3 in Salina, Oct. 29-31 and Nov. 3-7, Nov. 10 and Nov. 12-14 at the commission's offices in Topeka.

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