Beacon Transcript – The Westar merger with KCPL will host its first and only public hearing later today in a Topeka-area high school as the two companies are seeking to become a single electric company.
Westar Energy, the Topeka-based company is amongst if not the largest electricity provider in the state of Kansas.
The company ensures the power needs of about 700,000 business and residential users in the 55 counties of the state.
KCPL or the Kansas City Power and Light Company is a Kansas City-based electricity company which ensures the electric utility of the Kansas City metropolitan area.
KCPL is the largest subsidiary of the Great Plains Energy Incorporated company.
The Westar merger will seek to unite the two utility companies as they will come to serve the Kansas – Missouri border area. It will also ensure the electricity needs of an approximated number of 1.5 million users.
Great Plains Energy has advanced an acquisition deal to Westar Energy. The former is seeking to buy the later for a $12.2 billion sum.
As such, the Westar merger will become the biggest utility merger and sale to have taken place in the last couple of decades.
The last big merger took place some 25 years ago and involved almost the same utility players. Kansas Gas & Electric Co., a Wichita-based utility company rejected a KCPL offer.
It chose, in its place, the Kansas Power & Light Topeka-based company. As the two companies merged, they led to the formation of the Western Resources.
Western Resources came to be renamed as Westar Energy and the cycle will seem to end with a potential Westar merger with KCPL.
As the sale deal is the biggest to take place in recent history, the Kansas Corporation Commission has arranged a public hearing.
The public hearing, the first and only in the deal, will take place on Monday, December 05, at 6 P.M. It will take place in suburban Topeka, at the Shawnee Heights High School, according to reports.
Those interested in turning in on the hearing, but unable to participate in person, will have a number of alternatives.
Interested participants can either attend the meeting or watch it online as it will be transmitted live on the KCC website. A replay of the hearing will also be available on the aforementioned website.
The on-site participants, as well as the online ones, will be able to submit comments. Online users will be able to send them either during the hearing or comment in writing on the recording.
A Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board or CURB consumer counsel, David Nickel, is urging users to turn in and watch the hearing.
According to Nickel, the CURB is very interested in hearing the consumers’ opinions in regards to the Westar merger.
As he declared that the board will be reading all comments, he advised the commissioners to do so as well.
Nickel stated that CURB will be seeking to determine if the acquisition will beneficiate the public interest. As such, they will be using the comments in their arguments and in order to take a decision.
He also pointed out that the Kansas laws require that any utility merger should come to beneficiate the rate-paying public.
As such the Kansas commission will be holding the hearing, a procedure that is not law-required but has become a custom in important cases.
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