The Average Payment Plan can help reduce your high bills in summer and winter and make it easier to manage your monthly bill. The plan allows you to pay a monthly bill on the average cost of your most recent 12-month period. The amount due may vary slightly month to month but if you were signed up for Average Payment, your bill for this month would have only been Label and then every bill in the coming months would be close to that same amount. It’s not too late to sign up for your Label bill.
For more information about the Average Pay Program and how it can help reduce high bill surprises, visit our Average Payment Plan page
Topeka, Kan., March 2, 2015 — Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR) today filed a request with the Kansas Corporation Commission to adjust its prices by 7.9 percent or $152 million. The requested increase reflects costs of mandated environmental upgrades to comply with clean air regulations, life-extension improvements to Wolf Creek Nuclear Generating Station and investments to protect the grid against power outages, among other costs. The KCC will scrutinize the request, with a resulting price adjustment to occur late this year.
“We’ve nearly completed retrofitting our power plants to meet requirements of the Clean Air Act,” said Mark Ruelle, Westar Energy president and chief executive officer. “Not only do our Kansas power plants meet these tough new standards, but when coupled with our commitment to renewable energy, our customers now use electricity that’s cleaner than any time in history, and at prices the lowest of any major utility in Kansas and which compare favorably across the country.”
Westar’s filing has three primary components: first, to recover costs of the clean air retrofits to its La Cygne Energy Center and costs related to improving Wolf Creek; second, to seek approval for a five-year program to strengthen the power grid against storms and outages; and third, to request authority from the KCC to offer customers their choice of rate plans that best fit their needs and budgets.
“Our ReliabiliTree tree trimming and equipment repair program in three years has cut tree-related outages by two-thirds – even more in some communities,” said Bruce Akin, Westar Energy senior vice president, power delivery. “But some equipment is several decades old, and it’s time to replace it instead of spending more time and money to repair it. So we’re now asking to use that same proactive approach to most efficiently replace out-dated equipment that causes power outages. Our customers’ lives depend on electricity today, more than ever, and it needs to be reliable, particularly to withstand storms and high winds. We know outages are inconvenient for our customers at home, but for some of our business customers, even a blink in their electricity can cost them thousands of dollars in lost inventory and productivity. Outages also create health and safety risks.”
Westar has invested nearly $2 billion during the past few years to keep its power plants in compliance with environmental regulations. The improvements at the La Cygne power plant alone, operated by and co-owned with Kansas City Power & Light, cost Westar about $600 million.
Wolf Creek received a 20-year license extension from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, authorizing it to operate through 2045. Wolf Creek’s owners, of which Westar owns 47%, continually invest to ensure the plant operates safely and reliably. It is the state’s largest single source of emission-free electricity.
“Our stable and low-cost coal power plants and our nuclear plant remain important contributors, not just to our electric system, but to our economy, where they provide 1,700 good-paying jobs in our local communities, plus hundreds of construction jobs for their related projects, and contribute about $125 million dollars a year to our tax base, most of which funds K‑12 education,” Ruelle said.
“Our customers also are telling us they’d like choices in how to pay for their energy and more ways to monitor their use,” said Ruelle. “Today our customers have only one rate plan. We are asking for permission to offer new pricing plans that give customers choice in how they budget for and use electricity.”
One of the rate plans is designed specifically to reduce the volatility associated with high summer bills as air conditioners keep customers comfortable on hot days. Another rewards customers who spread out their electricity demand instead of using so much at once.
Two-thirds of Westar’s residential customers use a monthly average of 900 kWh or fewer, so their average monthly increase would be less than $13, or about 40 cents per day. For about a quarter of our residential customers, about 150,000 households, the proposed increase will be less than 30 cents per day.
The KCC is the state’s regulatory body that oversees this process. Regulators will take eight months to review, audit and evaluate Westar’s request to assure that prices reflect actual cost of providing electricity. To justify any price increase, Westar must prove that its costs to provide electricity are warranted and prudent.
A summary of the filing, all the supporting documents and an overview of the regulatory rate review process can be found at www.WestarEnergy.com/2015RateRequest.
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Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR) is Kansas’ largest electric utility. For more than a century, we have provided Kansans the safe, reliable electricity needed to power their businesses and homes. Every day our team of professionals takes on projects to generate and deliver electricity, protect the environment and provide excellent service to our nearly 700,000 customers. Westar has 7,200 MW of electric generation capacity fueled by coal, uranium, natural gas, wind and landfill gas. We are also a leader in electric transmission in Kansas. Our innovative customer service programs include mobile-enabled customer care, a smart meter pilot project and paving the way for electric vehicle adoption. Our employees live, volunteer and work in the communities we serve.
Forward-looking statements: Certain matters discussed in this news release are “forward-looking statements.” The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 has established that these statements qualify for safe harbors from liability. Forward-looking statements may include words like “believe,” “anticipate,” “target,” “expect,” “pro forma,” “estimate,” “intend,” “guidance” or words of similar meaning. Forward-looking statements describe future plans, objectives, expectations or goals. Although Westar Energy believes that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, all forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty. The factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements include those discussed herein as well as (1) those discussed in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2014 (a) under the heading, “Forward-Looking Statements,” (b) in ITEM 1. Business, (c) in ITEM 1A. Risk Factors, (d) in ITEM 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, and (e) in ITEM 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data: Notes 13 and 15; and (2) other factors discussed in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date such statement was made, and the company does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which such statement was made.
For more information about Westar Energy, visit us on the Internet at http://www.WestarEnergy.com. Westar Energy is on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/yourwestar and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/WestarEnergy.
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