Public hearing on Westar Energy and KCP&L Merger

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – People at a public hearing Monday night seemed largely in favor of the merger between Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy, the parent company of Kansas City Power & Light.

The meeting was held at Shawnee Heights High School.

The conversation was focused around the $12.2 billion acquisition of Westar Energy.

Representatives from different business partners of the two power companies gave testimonials about how it would benefit their organizations as well as the local community.

The two companies combined will have 1.5 million customers and almost 10,000 miles of transmission lines.

There has been some concern about the amount of money Great Plains Energy is paying with Westar Energy’s acquired debt, which is $3.6 billion.

“In terms of the amount of debt we are taking on in order to do this, is that all of the financial institutions that look at credit ratings… have all said this is something we can do,” says Chuck Caisley with Kansas City Power & Light.

Some critics want some assurance that the merger isn’t going to raise rates for customers.

“We estimate just under $2 billion worth of savings for customers in the first ten years of this transaction.”

We were also told that the company would probably get smaller.

“But we are looking to do that through attrition, through retirement, and not replacing jobs that are redundant.”

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