Westar Energy seeking $31.7 million rate increase to recoup environmental costs

Westar Energy has filed a request with the Kansas Corporation Commission for a $31.7 million rate increase, which would increase electricity rates by about 1.7 percent. The increase is to cover additional costs to upgrade one of the company’s coal-fired power plants.

The company said it is incurring about $42 million more in costs to upgrade its 1500 MW La Cygne coal-fired power plant to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements, but will offset about $10 million of that with cost reductions elsewhere. The rate increase would pay for the remainder of the additional costs.

About a quarter of the company's customers, those that use less than 500 KWh monthly, the rate increase would run about $4 a month, according to the company. Households using about 900 KWh monthly would face a rate increase of about $7.50 monthly.

The request for a rate increase also included re-examining how rates are set for different types of customers, creating a more flexible economic development program and creating a low-income fund to be administered by a third party to help community members most in need, according to Westar.

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