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Westar responds to KCC's challenge.


Utility notes concerns about unintended consequences for Kansas infrastructure.



August 21, 2014
Today the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) filed a challenge with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regarding rate making as it pertains to the cost of interstate electrical transmission service operated by Westar Energy.

"Though transmission service reflects a small portion of total utility cost, it is a cornerstone on which our state's reliability, access to low-cost power and renewable energy rest," Mark Ruelle, Westar Energy president and chief executive officer, said. "We don't have to go back far in history to see a period where Kansas and the nation were under investing in this critical high-voltage transmission infrastructure. Our concern is that the KCC's efforts might cause Kansas to fall behind.

"We appreciate the role the KCC has in balancing the public interest, but in this matter we just have to agree to disagree. We trust the process FERC has to review such concerns."

About a decade ago at the direction of Congress, FERC put new rules in place to attract more investment in the nation's high-voltage power grid because development had stagnated. Realizing that many needed projects exceeded $100 million and required specialized labor, they established guidelines that would attract investors to these high-risk projects. Kansas legislators also led the effort with legislation that paved the way for Kansas to effectively participate in updating our nation's gird.

"To ensure our Kansas infrastructure continues to serve our communities and keeps our state competitive, we need to remain on a level playing field with our neighbors," Ruelle said.

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