Doesn’t Westar get enough protection from the state?

By Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

OK! Enough, already! Sixty-two households, including mine, put up some solar panels, and Westar Energy starts with the Legislature about how unfair it is to the other 689,938 Westar customers.

Only five years ago, Westar and the Kansas Legislature were all for the development of distributed production (“roof-top solar” to the rest of us).  They put a policy in place called “net metering” that encouraged the development of rooftop solar for Kansas households.

What in the world changed in five years? Why has the poor old, disadvantaged electric utility monopoly, Westar, which is guaranteed a profit by state policy, suddenly awakened to find that 62 Kansas households are about to raid the treasury?

Well, truth be told, this is not about 62 wild-eyed, solar-panel-building terrorists who are about to change life as Westar wants to keep it. It is because the free market, something Westar must fear, has brought solar power generation within the grasp of most households in Kansas.

Maybe it’s a little because natural gas extraction using “fracking” — another popular idea — has brought certain big Kansas energy interests into the electricity generation market using “cheaper” natural gas.  We all know what happens when you take on big energy. They misrepresent the facts, and they spend a lot of money to influence public and legislative opinion.

Do your best, energy interests. Perhaps your view of the world will prevail today.  Tomorrow, on the other hand, belongs to renewable energy. A combina-tion of the free market and the common sense of Kansans will win out in the final analysis.

By the way, if any of you Kansans with common sense feel so inclined, please tell your legislators to say “No” to the changes in the “net metering” bills, and maybe the little guys can win this one.

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