Kansans Respond To Proposed Westar Rate Hike

By: Alicia Myers Email
By: Alicia Myers Email

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"You're a monopoly. You're a utility monopoly. It's for the public interest that you're supposed to be regulated, and this is not working out for us," said Janice Bradley, Occupy Wichita.

It was a heated debate from the public Wednesday night, as the Kansas Corporation Committee listened to the public at a Westar Energy hearing. Most customers said now is not the time for Westar to ask 687,000 customers in dozens of Kansas towns to pay a 5.85% rate increase.

"Why do we raise energy rates, when teachers take pay cuts, and minimum wage here in Kansas has no increase. How are we supposed to pay for these things when we have no extra money?" said Kyler Mueller, Wichita.

The increase would cost the average customer an extra $6.44 a month. It would help pay for maintenance on the Wolf Creek Nuclear Plant, as well as provide more funding for the ReliailiTree program.

"It's become the time where cost-cutting alone can't allow us to maintain the reliable service our customers are used to and deserve," said Greg Greenwood, Senior Vice President, Strategy, Westar Energy.

Some say the company has not done enough cutting.

"The linemen and the people who go out in the middle of the night in the rain and the storms and keep our lines on, they're heroes. They really are, but the company really needs to trim its belt," said David Springe, Consumer Counsel, Citizens' Utility Ratepayer Board.

If you were unable to attend the public hearing, and would like more information, or to voice your opinion, click here.

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