Westar Energy is considering changes in the way it charges customers, and depending on the time of day when you use most of your electricity, some people could end up paying more.
“In February, we started the process to update our prices at the KCC,” explained Gina Penzig the media relations manager with Westar Energy.
Under a rate proposal by Westar Energy, people could see a rate decrease at the end of this year, but see a rate increase next year. The rate increase would be about $5.91 per month for the average person.
“It’s not only hard on our citizens, who will continue to absorb whatever increase because they need electricity,” explained Daron Hall, the City Manager in Pittsburg.
Hall opposes the rate increase and says it could hurt companies.
“We’re actually keeping businesses out of Kansas because we’re too expansive,” Hall said.
The rate increase isn’t the only change Westar Energy is looking to make. The company is also proposing a three-part optional rate plan.
“Any costumer could opt into it if it fits their lifestyle,” explained Penzig.
Part of the rate plan includes adding a “demand fee” to the bill for people who use more energy between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
“People’s air-conditioners are on, you’re coming home from work, just a lot of stuff going on during that time,” said Penzig.
The demand fee wouldn’t be mandatory for all customers, but would be mandatory for people with solar panels.
“It’s an interesting idea,” said Westar Energy user Gregor South.
South said right now his energy bill each month is pretty reasonable and under the proposal he could actually save money.
“I currently work graveyard shift, so I’m asleep during that time, so I’d probably be all for it,” South said.
Penzig said the demand fee is meant to save people money, adding if the proposal is approved, people would have the option to opt out of the plan if it didn’t work for them.
Westar Energy is holding a public hearing on the proposal. The hearing is scheduled for May 22 at 6 p.m. at Washburn University in Topeka. You can also submit public comment online until July 18.