(WICHITA, Kan.)—It was standing room only at a public hearing of the Kansas Corporation Commission Monday night.
Westar wants home owners and small businesses to pay more each month, but big companies would see lower costs under this plan. Before it can raise rates, it has to get approval from the KCC.
An average homeowner would see about a 9% increase under this plan, which would be about $7.50 more per month for most people.
Small businesses should see bills go up just over 6%, but large industrial customers and those under special use contracts with Westar would see rates go down anywhere from 8% to 15%.
“I wonder what this means to the single mother making minimum wage at Wal-Mart?” asks speaker Paul Miller.
Most people at the meeting took issue with the plan to raise rates on homeowners and small business, but give a break to big business.
“If you want to spur economic development you don’t raise rates for small business,” said Sedgwick County Commissioner Richard Ranzau who spoke Monday night and wrote a letter to the KCC.
According to the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board (CURB), Westar has raised rates 18 times since January 2009 for a total of 38%. CURB lobbies for homeowners and small businesses.
The public has until September 23rd to give feedback to the KCC. A final hearing will take place on September 26th and 27th in Topeka.