Press Release

June 4, 2008

Westar seeks $22 million increase and revision of environmental surcharge

In March, when Westar Energy filed its annual request to increase the environmental surcharge approved by the KCC in its last rate case, it also submitted a revised tariff that would make the surcharge permanent. When the Commission Staff recommended that the Commission approve the tariff, CURB filed a protest with the Commission.

Westar has requested a $27 million surcharge for the coming year, which is a $22 million increase over last year's surcharge. The request for this surcharge is in addition to Westar's request for a $177 million base rate increase.

The environmental surcharge, as approved, was approved by the KCC to help Westar finance a large program of making environmental upgrades of several generation plants. The surcharge was designed to allow Westar to recover amounts expended on the projects between rate cases. With each subsequent rate case, the expenditures would be reviewed, then placed in base rates, and the surcharge would be reset back to zero.

Although CURB was not happy with the KCC's approval of the environmental surcharge, at least it was not intended to be a permanent fixture of Westar's rates. But Westar's new filing attempts to unilaterally redesign the surcharge and make it permanent.

Staff and Westar have filed responses to CURB's objections; now it's in the KCC's court.

KCC Docket No. 08-WSEE-849-TAR