Alternative Plans For Westar

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Two new plans have emerged as alternatives to Westar Energy's proposal to increase its electric rates by $178 million a year.

Westar filed its proposal in May with the Kansas Corporation Commission, with regulates utilities.

Now, the agency's staff and the Citizens' Utility Ratepayers Board have filed their own proposals. CURB represents residential customers and small businesses in rate hearings.

Westar's proposal is for a 15 percent increase in its rates.

The CURB proposal would give Westar an increase of about 6 percent, or $75 million.

The Kansas Corporation Commission's staff is proposing an overall increase in rates of about 8 percent, or $95 million.

Hearings are set to begin Oct. 29. Regulators have until Jan. 23, 2009, to decide.