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Energy and Environment

Kansas Regulators Block Purchase Of Westar Energy By Great Plains Energy

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Kansas regulators have blocked the $12 billion purchase of Topeka-based Westar Energy by Great Plains Energy. Members of the Kansas Corporation Commission raised concerns that the purchase price was too high and there wouldn’t be enough efficiencies created to guarantee lower costs to customers.

The order from the commission called the proposal "too risky."

David Nickel is with the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board, which represents consumers. He said the only testimony in favor of the merger came from the two companies.

“It didn’t make economic sense, and it really put the ratepayer at risk for anything that might go wrong,” Nickle says.

The companies can appeal the decision. Gina Penzig, with Westar, says they haven’t decided if they’ll continue to pursue the merger.

“We think that it was good for Kansas. We think that it was going to bring a lot of benefits to customers," Penzig says. "We’re going to sit down, we’re going to take a look at the order and determine what the next steps are."

Missouri-based Great Plains is the parent of Kansas City Power and Light. Had the purchase gone forward, the combined companies would have 950,000 customers in Kansas.