Evergy

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — This city’s buses all run on diesel.

They navigate Wichita streets with the distinctive rumble of their time-tested engines, belching the distinctive smell of diesel and a concoction of carbon monoxide, particulate matter and nitrogen oxides.

That exhaust clouds the air locally and adds to the greenhouse gases steadily transforming the climate globally.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

LINDSBORG, Kansas — The city-owned utility here wants to sell more electricity to the 3,500 people in town.

So it bought a $40,000 Tesla Model 3 sedan. It wants to show that getting around in an electric car can make sense.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

The way Westar Energy runs its coal plants in Kansas unnecessarily costs consumers millions of dollars a year through an obscure, if common, practice known as self-committing generation.

Flickr: MG Green creative commons

Solar panel users in Kansas continue to pay higher electricity bills as they wait for utility company Evergy to keep a promise made during this year’s legislative session to remove a recently added fee.

Evergy says it will follow through on the promise by the end of May. But state regulators ultimately hold the power to decide whether or not to approve the request to change some solar customers’ rates.

Carla Eckels / KMUW/File photo

Wichita City Council member Brandon Johnson wants Evergy to replace new metal electric poles in some neighborhoods with wooden ones.

Johnson represents District 1, where many of the transmission poles that top 100 feet were recently installed.

“To see 2.8 miles of neighborhood having these industrial poles … is just unheard of,” Johnson said.

Evergy is the electric company that now oversees the transmission poles. It was formed from a merger of Westar Energy of Topeka and Great Plains Energy of Kansas.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

Companies have complained for years that electricity rates run higher in Kansas than in surrounding states.

That gives manufacturers and retailers in other states an edge, they say, and discourages businesses from moving to Kansas.

Now the Legislature wants to know what’s causing such a disparity.

Coal Power Plant - Lawrence Energy Center
Brian Grimmett

Wind is beginning to challenge coal’s status as the primary energy source for electricity produced in Kansas.

Brian Grimmett

Evergy, the company formed in the merger between Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy, has announced the official retirement dates of several older power plants.

Tecumseh Energy Center, near Topeka, and two units at Gordon Evans Energy Center in Colwich will shut down on Oct. 1. Those will be followed by the last two units at Murray Gill Energy Center outside of Wichita on Nov. 1.

Michael Mazengarb / flickr Creative Commons

Solar energy advocates protested Westar Energy’s latest rate proposal Thursday and are lobbying state regulators to deny it.

The proposal would create a separate billing class for people who install solar panels on their homes. The change could effectively increase a typical solar user’s bill by as much as 50 percent.