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Energy and Environment

Public Hearing Tuesday On Westar Rate Increase In Kansas

Nuclear Regulatory Commission, flickr Creative Commons

Kansans will have a chance to weigh in today on a proposed electricity rate increase from Westar Energy. The Kansas Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities, will hold a public hearing in Topeka.

The plan would raise electricity rates and the monthly fixed fees paid by customers. The hearing is a chance for members of the public to ask questions and share their opinions on the proposal.

David Springe, who advocates on behalf of consumers for the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board, says commissioners will consider public comments when deciding whether to approve the rate increase.

“The commissioners are, I think, very sensitive about keeping their hands on the pulse of the customers," Springe says. "I mean, obviously, two of our commissioners were former legislators so they’re usually very sensitive to customer concerns.”

Westar says the $152 million increase would help pay for required environmental upgrades at a coal-fired power plant and costs associated with the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant.