Great Plains Energy, Westar dismiss regulators’ concerns over proposed merger

Great Plains Energy has fired back against objections raised by Kansas regulators to its planned $12.2 billion acquisition of Westar Energy.

Great Plains, the parent company of Kansas City Power & Light, said blocking the acquisition of the Topeka-based electric utility would have a “chilling effect” on utility consolidation in the state.

Terry Bassham, CEO of KCP&L owner Great Plains, said that would leave Kansas “out of touch with and left behind” other states where utility companies are merging. Great Plains said efficiencies realized from a combined utility could save ratepayers $2 billion over the next 10 years.

Bassham was one of several top executives with Great Plains and Westar to submit testimony Monday in response to regulators who expressed reservations about the aftereffects of the utility combination.

In December, staff of the Kansas Corporation Commission recommended denial of the deal, saying Great Plains would take on too much debt and that potential job losses would hurt the Kansas economy.

Great Plains and Westar will make their case in meetings before the Kansas Corporation Commission later this month. A decision on the deal is expected in April.

Read more: Kansas City Star

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