Public Invited To Thursday Meeting On Potential Westar Rate Hike

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Another public hearing is planned on a Westar Energy plan to boost rates for residential customers while decreasing rates for major commercial customers.

The Wichita Eagle ( ) reports that the hearing will be held Thursday night at the Kansas Corporation Commission office in Topeka. Two-way teleconferencing will be available for customers to testify from satellite locations in Hutchinson, Salina and Pittsburg.

Several Wichita electric customers told state officials they don't like Westar Energy's latest rate increase proposal, but the company says its increase rates would still be a bargain.

The Wichita Eagle reports ( ) Westar has asked the Kansas Corporation Commission to approve a rate increase for residential customers by an average $7.50 a month. The company also wants to cut rates for major commercial customers.

About 120 people attended the commission's first public hearing on the rate proposal Monday in Wichita. About 25 testified that the increase would be too costly for them and their neighbors.

Jeff Martin, a Westar vice president, said Westar's power bills are a bargain, and that including the increase, it will still cost most residential customers less than $3.50 per day to power their homes.
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle,