November 29, 2007
Consumer Groups Net Refund for Westar Customers
Westar customers who received refunds on their bills this fall can thank CURB and two other consumer groups for successfully fighting for refunds of money improperly collected from Westar customers.
An appeal jointly pursued by CURB, the Kansas Industrial Consumers (KIC) and Unified School District No. 259 of Wichita has resulted in refunds to Westar customers throughout the state. Refunds are ranging from about $15 to $45 per residential customer.
The consumer groups successfully appealed three decisions of the KCC in Westar's 2005 rate case. CURB argued that Westar was improperly including the future costs of dismantling its generation plants in its depreciation rates without providing evidence that the company plans to dismantle its plants when they become obsolete. On remand, the KCC ordered Westar to refund the amounts improperly collected from customers.
Additionally, the KCC ordered to refund some transmission costs that were improperly included in rates to customers.
Westar began flowing refunds to customers in October, which are identified as credits on customer bills. Customers in Westar's South territory received a larger proportion of the refunds than Westar's North territory customers because they paid a larger proportion of the improper charges. Refund amounts varied depending on volumes used during the refund period.
Transmission refunds appeared on the October and November bills, and the depreciation refunds appeared on the October bill.