Opinion Columns & Blogs

Did Westar work the system on rate increase?

Many Kansans likely had a cynical reaction to the proposed settlement in the Westar Energy rate case: Did Westar work the system by asking for a $152 million rate increase and then negotiating down to $78 million? Are we supposed to feel good about a 5.3 percent average increase in utility bills just because it is about half of what Westar originally wanted? But Kansans should find some reassurance in the fact that the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board, the state agency that advocates for residential and small-business utility customers, examined the case carefully and concluded the settlement is a “good deal.” Westar has cost increases it needs to recoup. The Kansas Corporation Commission (which still must approve the settlement) needs to make sure those costs are warranted and reasonable. – Phillip Brownlee