Whenever power and gas utilities ask state regulators to let them raise rates, consumers count on the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board to analyze the requests and advocate on behalf of residential and small-business customers. Or that’s how it’s worked for two decades. Now, after recent staff changes and troubling comments by CURB members, Kansans must wonder whether the agency will play its usual pro-consumer role as the Kansas Corporation Commission considers Westar Energy’s requested $25 million annual transmission rate increase, on top of last fall’s $78 million general rate hike. – Rhonda Holman
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