Westar Energy Plans Infrastructure Improvements Around Topeka

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Westar Energy is planning $150 million in infrastructure improvements around Topeka.

Westar CEO Mark Ruelle detailed the plans Thursday morning at the company's annual shareholders meeting at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.

After a business meeting that lasted roughly seven minutes, Ruelle said the company plans to replace four substations built in the 1950's and build one major substation in Topeka.

Westar has asked the Kansas Corporation Commission to approve a $31 million rate increase to help pay for upgrading the area system.

Ruelle says there are two things that he believes will adjust those prices.

"One is to meet the environmental protection requirements to make our emissions lower and to make the area even cleaner and have less impact on the environment," said Ruelle. "Secondly, to increase the strength and quality of our transmission grid, make that more secure and reliable."

Ruelle had positive comments about Northeast Kansas development, pointing to the large Barry Plastics Plant near Lawrence and the Topeka Mars Plant adding hundreds of jobs to the Topeka economy.