Great Plains Energy Inc. will buy Kansas-based Westar Energy in a deal worth about $12.2 billion, the companies announced Monday.
Great Plains, the parent company of Kansas City Power & Light, will total more than 1.5 million customers in Kansas and Missouri once the cash and stock transaction is completed.
The combined utility entity also will own and operate almost 10,000 miles of transmission lines and 51,000 miles of distribution lines moving nearly 13,000 MW in generating capacity.
Westar, which has about 2,400 employees, will keep its Topeka, Kansas headquarters and become a unit of Great Plains Energy.
Terry Bassham, CEO and Chairman of Great Plains and KCP&L, will lead the merger entity once the deal closes as expected in 2017.
Bassham, who was named Electric Light & Power magazine’s Large Utility CEO of the Year for 2015, estimated that combining the two companies will result in cost savings both for 900,000 Kansas and 600,000 Missouri customers. He said the merger was necessary to deal with rising industry challenges such as regulations and cyber security threats.
The move joins a rush of utility mergers lately. Exelon and Pepco Holdings finally closed on their $6.8 billion union recently.
Southern Co. is in the process of merging with AGL Resources while Duke is buying Piedmont and Dominion plans to acquire Questar.