Westar soon to have public meetings to replace large power poles


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – After being built and met with resistance, the Westar energy poles installed last year in a Wichita neighborhood will soon be smaller, according to company representatives.

“They are trying to fix it and right their wrong,” says Wichitan Kevin Lowe. “What else can you do?”

Lowe has a more than 100 foot power pole in his backyard.

“It did not bother me as much as anybody else,” he says.

Down the road, Katherine Hicks has one next door to her home.

“I hate them, hate them, hate them,” Hicks says.

Love them or not, their time may be dwindling.

“We would expect that all of the poles would be replaced with a smaller poles,” says Gina Penzig who is a Westar spokeswoman.

Westar officials have promised to revisit the project and remove and replace a number of the poles. Mainly, the ones that do not sit on a street corner.

“We would be replacing them with smaller poles and then moving them closer to the road. We expect that probably the same number of poles would be involved,” Penzig explains.

“I am happy if that is what they are really going to do, but I do not trust them,” says Hicks.

The poles are in councilman Brandon Johnson’s district, and since they were put up, he has been working to bring them down or find a replacement. What he has been met with is compromise from the company.

“I would believe we would see some sort of movement this fall when the demand on the electric system is a little less,” Johnson says. “We will find out more at that public meeting.”

In the fall, the company plans to meet with community members to discuss an alternative power source. Westar officials say they hope by the end of 2020 some of the poles won’t stand so high.

“I hope it is sooner than later,” Hicks says.

Westar representatives say they will be having a public meeting within the next few months to discuss options for what a smaller pole might look like. The company also says they will honor the scholarships and compensation funds given to the community.

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