Kansas Regulators Deny Petition For Reconsideration Of Westar, Great Plains Merger


The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) has denied the petition for reconsideration filed jointly by Great Plains Energy Inc. and Westar Energy Inc. regarding the KCC’s April 19 order denying approval of Great Plains’ acquisition of Westar.

Great Plains Energy and Westar say they will continue to work in a timely manner to explore the possibility of a revised transaction. If a new agreement to combine is reached, the companies plan to file a new application under a new docket. Though the companies say they have made progress, it will take more time to evaluate whether a new deal is possible.

“It is important for all parties to the case to have adequate time and ability in which to review any revised proposal,” says Terry Bassham, Great Plains Energy’s chairman and CEO. “If we move forward, any revised transaction would have to be materially better than our stand-alone plan for both shareholders and customers, and it would have to have a high likelihood of success.”

Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., Great Plains Energy is the holding company of Kansas City Power & Light Co. and KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Co.

Westar Energy, Kansas’ largest electric utility, has more than 7.8 GW of electric generation capacity, including renewables and traditional power sources. More than half of the electricity it supplies to its 700,000 customers comes from emissions-free sources – wind, solar and nuclear. Earlier this year, the utility opened up the 280 MW Western Plains wind farm in Kansas.

Since filing the petition, the companies have had discussions with KCC staff and the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayers Board (CURB) and agree that if a new agreement can be forged between the companies, a new application with the KCC will be the appropriate procedure to follow.

“If we reach an agreement, we agree a new KCC application would be the best route,” says Mark Ruelle, Westar Energy’s president and CEO. “The KCC staff and CURB have indicated they would discuss a procedural schedule following a review of a new application to determine whether the 300 days allowable will be necessary to review the revised transaction. From Great Plains Energy’s and Westar’s perspective, we believe the work we did in the earlier docket could shorten the new schedule to fewer than the 300 days allowable.”

Bassham adds, “We’ve learned a tremendous amount during the past few months of integration planning work and would be able to share that information if we reach an agreement and file a new application. We understand how important it is to get this right for our customers, investors, employees and our Kansas communities.”

Last year, Great Plains Energy announced that it would be acquiring Westar in a combined cash and stock transaction with an enterprise value of approximately $12.2 billion, including a total equity value of approximately $8.6 billion. Westar would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Great Plains Energy.

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