Westar is seeking to increase its base prices about 5.85 percent.
According to a Westar press release: Adjusted for inflation, Westar’s average rates for electricity if the full request is granted would be nearly the same as they were almost 20 years ago.
Among the causes for the increase, the company cited increasing costs of: complying with federal regulatory requirements; maintaining power plants and wires in good repair, rather than replacing them at higher cost; keeping trees away from power lines; and keeping commitments to its employees who do whatever it takes to bring reliable service to its customers.
Mark Ruelle, Westar Energy chief executive officer, said. “We are asking the KCC to allow us to increase our prices to reflect the higher cost of providing service. While we continue to implement efficiencies in how we operate, we can only tighten the purse strings so much, given the increasing regulatory demands out of Washington as well as higher operating costs to keep equipment in good condition to provide the reliable service our customers expect and deserve.”
The increase for a typical residential customer would be about $6.50 per month. According to Westar they have nearly 700,000 retail customers in the state of Kansas. If the full increase is improved it would amount to an increase of $91 million annually.