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Energy and Environment

Kansas Regulators Expected To Approve Rate Hike For Westar

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Kansas regulators are expected to give final approval to a $78 million annual rate increase for the state's largest electric company.

The Kansas Corporation Commission was meeting Thursday to consider an order on Topeka-based Westar Energy's rates. The three-member commission last month endorsed an agreement involving the company, the commission's staff, a state consumer advocacy agency and some of Westar's largest customers.

The agreement would permit Westar to raise its rates about 4 percent, with households in its territory paying between $5 and $7 more a month. The utility has nearly 700,000 customers.

Westar initially proposed a $152 million increase in its annual rates, largely to cover costs it already has incurred for improvements at power plants. Other parties argued for a rate increase of less than $56 million.