Westar rate increases, basic conservation rates are now in effect

April 8, 2009

Customers of Westar Energy should take note that the new rates approved by the KCC in January of this year are now in effect. Most customers will experience higher electric bills as a result of the $130 million increase. The average annual residential bill will increase about 11%, exclusive of energy charges and other line-item surcharges.

However, customers who can keep their monthly summer usage under 900 kWh will avoid some of the increase. A higher rate will apply to usage over 900kWh during the summer.

This change in rate design was proposed by CURB, which saw the change as a way to (1) provide an affordable initial block of energy to all customers, and (2) encourage conservation in the summer, when the demand for electricity is greatest and the cost of meeting demand is highest.

Customers who are able to reduce their consumption to under 900kWh per month during the summer months will be impacted by the increase less than those with higher consumption.

We encourage all customers, regardless of their monthly usage, to continue making efforts to use less electricity, particularly on the hottest days. Installing programmable therm-ostats, replacing old appliances with more efficient appliances and sealing up drafty homes are effective ways to help reduce consumption.

If we can reduce the demand on electric generation plants during the dog days of summer, we can defer the need to build more plants. If we defer building more plants, it will save us all money in the long run.

KCC Docket No. 08-WSEE-1041-RTS