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When do we put the lid on Westar?
Posted: 07 October 2013 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I was reading the article about the mutilation of trees in Manhattan by Assplunked working for Westar. I have had experience with them before. When they buzz sawed their way through Hooterville. Here they didn’t cut the trees in half, they just cut them down…came onto your property and just chopped away.
Now here is a company that has been run by crooks. They raise rates seemingly without opposition. More than half my monthly bill is “fees”...and they want more. They can come on private property and cut down trees or whatever they want to do. They must have some powerful connections somewhere…I can only guess where…hahaha

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Posted: 07 October 2013 06:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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On the old forums, I told the story of Westar and Asplundh refusing to pick up the wood they left in our back yards after chopping down trees. Our back yards are a flood easement, so not strictly our property, so Westar would tell us we had no authority to ask them to pick up the wood. I’d call the City who would call Westar, and they twice sent people out, both who made up excuses to not get the wood. (The second time, an Asplundh employee tried to pick a physical fight with my husband.) After a few months we got nasty certified letters from the City saying if we didn’t get the wood picked up we’d be arrested and charged. I called the City and explained the situation, and they were nice about it and talked to Westar directly, and no surprise: whoever was sent out deliberately skipped our house, and we ended up paying $300 to a local place to pick that damn wood up.

And on the old forums, I got chewed out by a half dozen people telling me I should be grateful to Westar and Asplundh.

My personal opinion is that pro-corporation attitude, people who think companies love us more than profits, are a big part of why Westar keeps getting approved for rate increases. I swear I see notification more than once a year about rate increases for Westar, and I can’t help but figure most of these are about profit rather than actual cost increases in energy. If they also have powerful connections—and I’m sure they do—then why wouldn’t they parlay that into both rate increases and nickle-and-dime “savings” by refusing to do things like pick up the wood they cut? They may be infrastructure but they’re also a business.

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Posted: 07 October 2013 07:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It was also kind of a strange situation that Westar had substantially completed the substation along Tuttle Creek Blvd before going to the Planning Board and the county commission to get their approval.

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Posted: 07 October 2013 07:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Stacia,
I am not sure they are a real business in the strictest sense of the term. Most businesses are answerable to their customers.  Westar simply dictates what they will do.  We will raise your rates, come onto your private property and do what we please. They have great connections, apparently.
As for Assplunked…a bunch of hacks…no pun intended.
I was in the Persian Gulf when they attacked Leonardville. A friend notified me that they had marked my trees for demolition and sent me the contact for Westar. I pulled the patriotic card and e-mailed…“Why am I over here in defense of liberty (hahaha) and you are coming on my private property and cutting down my trees?” I got an apologetic letter proclaiming their patriotism and a promise to do nothing until I returned which happened to be six months later. I saw the assplunked people and told them it was OK to take out the Willow which had become somewhat invasive, and they told me it was not allowed….orders from headquarters. So now, I have the only mature trees on the south side of the street.  I am sure they will be back in a few years…they can still have the willow which has become a real pain, but if they try messing with my red maple….there will be trouble in River City. I have the most beautiful red maple in the area.
The amazing thing is that Westar does not compensate people for this damage to their property, or, in your case, clean up their own messes…but the most amazing thing is that someone is letting them get away with this…and continually raise their rates…I am thinking the Brownback/Koch coalition is probably behind all this. We all have to have electricity so now, we are at the mercy of these thieves.

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Posted: 08 October 2013 06:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Good point, Kathy, I hadn’t thought of the timeline before but it is strange they were already so far along before going to the board.

What I think irks me the most is that our power still goes out frequently enough, because trees are still hitting the lines in high winds. Always were. The trimming didn’t even do the job it was supposed to.

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Posted: 08 October 2013 06:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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http://www.kansas.com/2013/08/03/2923073/westar-energy-seeks-10m-reimbursement.html

This latest increase was so Westar could charge residential customers $50 million more in fees, while reducing costs to big corporations $60 million.  Just another subsidy for those corporations who contribute the bulk of money to political campaigns.

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Posted: 08 October 2013 09:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Oh, that’s hilarious, they’re asking for about $42 million in rate increases that customers will have to pay, “$6.3 million of the money will go to pay for Westar’s “WattSaver” program, which provides free thermostats to residential customers.”  Gotta tell ya, that doesn’t sound like “free” to me. Sounds like the customers, even those that didn’t get a free thermostat, was subsidizing it the whole time. And the money quote Larry referred to:

The company also has asked permission to “rebalance” its rates so that residential and small-business customers pay $50 million more a year and major industrial and commercial customers pay $60 million less.

This is ridiculous.

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Posted: 08 October 2013 09:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Oh, and a quote to Kathy’s point:

David Springe, chief consumer council for CURB, said it’s highly likely that Westar will get what it’s asking for in energy efficiency because it already spent the money.

 

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Posted: 09 October 2013 07:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Westar gets what it wants.  I would like someone to find a link to any time a rate increase has been denied Westar when they ask.  Of course, they often ask for more than they get.  “Ask for the sky and have it cut to what you want.”  Westar and its execs give big dollars to political campaigns.  They “drive the train”.  They will spend dollars… and build substations… because they know it’s just as easy to ask forgiveness than ask permission.  Either way… they win.
Westar’s costs and fees are a devestating “tax” on the working class.  People living from paycheck to paycheck suddenly find the cost of utilities going up and they must pay that bill before feeding their family.  Local politicians won’t campaign against Westar.  Our conservative commissioners rail against taxes.  Yet, when have you heard them utter a sound about getting together and traveling to Topeka to speak against a Westar increase?  Our locals will find ways to cut social service spending… even if it means gerrymadering advisory boards.  Yet, as Westar increases its rates, more Manhattan citizens will need assistance.
In the next couple of weeks, our local commission will hand the Chamber another million dollars to jet around the Country.  We will hand one million dollars of tax money to an entity that takes a dozens of Manhattanites to Kansas City for a “show and tell” once a year.  Public officials from the Citiy, County, School Board, University, etc. all attend and expense the trip from tax money.  You will hear one or two commissoiners make feeble remarks about the annual Chamber contribution.  Yet, this commission knows the political power weilded by the Chamber.  That is why Westar gets what they want.  The political “stick” is much greater than the good of the citizenry.

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Posted: 09 October 2013 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Sadly, Larry, I fear you are right. Last month, I turned off the AC and my bill was $10 more than the previous month…??????
I have both propane and electric heat, but this year I am going with the propane. No surprizes, you check the tank regularly and you know how much it is costing you per day. I can read an electric meter as well, but that is not a majority of the bill, oddly enough. On my bill, they seem to be stuck…for now…on $50 worth of miscellaneous fees.

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Posted: 13 February 2014 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I am no apologist for utility companies, and I had my share of trees sawed off at the base. I can thank neighbors for making “midnight requisitions” that effectively cleared the wood….good firewood I guess.
I will submit, however, that I suspect some of the vitriol directed at rising fees has absolutely nothing to do with Westar’s corporate greed. Anyone complaining may just have themselves to blame if they voted for President Obama.
The president is fond of making foolish statements like he is going to “combat climate change.” If climate change is the new euphemism for global warming (and it is), then his favorite method would have been a cap & trade system similar to those implemented in Europe. He had one problem however…a Republican House of Representatives would never pass it (for good reasons).
You have heard him say he will bypass Congress and that he has a telephone and a pen? He has been doing it for years….in this case he is using the EPA as an attack dog to extort money from businesses, particularly utility companies. He has waged war on coal companies to the point of putting some out of business and has closed down coal mines. This has raised the cost of energy unnecessarily for everyone.
The notion that mankind is causing harmful global warming with carbon dioxide, or that CO2 is a pollutant, is pure poppycock. It is pseudoscientific fraud at its most sublime. There is absolutely no credible scientific evidence that such is the case. Climate change is a political position…it is not a scientific one. There is certainly no scientific evidence to support the massive dollars poured into it by governments (in reality, taxpayers) around the world with cap and trade scams. Al Gore is a hoax.
If anyone doubts that Obama is purposely trying to fleece the middle class, listen to his own words on YouTube. Just search for Obama warned you on electricity. Unlike manmade global warming, this picking of your pocket is real and it is happening now. And it is about to get worse, so smile.
If anyone wants to challenge me on global warming, you will need a lot more than Al Gore, the New York Times or NBC news science articles to make your case. These are liberal shills and propaganda machines for the political message that masquerades as a scientific one.
The EPA, under Obama’s direction, is socking it to utility companies. Enjoy it. Your fleecing is only going to get worse. He predicted, if he had his way on the phony cap and trade program he wanted, that the average family’s energy costs would “skyrocket” by about $4000 a year. For a phony global warming reason. I won’t even go into how he and his cronies were set to make huge profits for themselves if he got it passed. but one estimate is that US taxpayers would have been fleeced one TRILLION dollars for a nonexistent problem….every year.

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Posted: 13 February 2014 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Notice where he says in the video that utility companies will necessarily have to pass those skyrocketing costs on to consumers. That means you posters who are complaining about the rising fees. You are starting to feel it. The EPA is carrying out the dirty work because Obama could not make it law with a Republican house. At the end of the video, you hear his famous quote that he intends to fundamentally transform America. The best manifestation of this transformation is a war on the middle class, and he is doing a great job fulfilling his promises. Median household incomes under his presidency have been dropping like a rock even as all kinds of phony and unnecessary expenses and costs have been going up….thanks to YOUR government. Are you feeling the pinch yet? In the words of the Carpenters, We have only just begun….
The rising national debt (officially now over 17 trillion, but over 200 trillion if all unfunded liabilities of the government are considered) is a looming hammer waiting to fall. How do you suppose THAT will manifest itself? We can use history here and in other countries to get a picture. It’s not a pretty picture, I can assure you.

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Posted: 13 February 2014 03:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Yep, Rick, I totally agree with you.  The significant rate increases we seen at Westar are completely attributable to the President.  Those huge rate increases, costs that take food out of the mouths of the working class and their families, have nothing to do with the fact that Westar’s CEO made over $2.8 million in 2012 and his second in command made almost $1.8 million.  Nope, every cent of rate increases are directly caused by the POTUS seeking to “pick the pocket” of the citizens. 
http://insiders.morningstar.com/trading/executive-compensation.action?t=WR

I subscribe to a hard right-wing discussion board.  From reading posts there, quite similar to the one you posted above, I glean truckloads of knowledge.  The President personally raised membership costs at tanning salons.  Those who use tanning beds are proven to have a higher rate of skin cancers.  Yet, according to this right wing report, the increase is due to the President not wanting “white people” to infringe on the black lifestyle.  Huh?  I’ve learned the President is at fault for a plane crash in Hawaii, that he had an affair with Beyonce in the White House, and that he has put “his” people in place in the military so he can never be forced out of office.  I learn a lot from those who suggest such far-fetched things like the POTUS having a goal of breaking the back of American households by personally seeing that utility rates increase dramatically.

I’m also assuming that none of the rate increases are attributable to corporate greed.  I’m assuming that NONE of these rate increases would have happened had McCain or Romney been elected. 

The really sad thing is the huge electric bill that will be shouldered by Sarah Palin as she keeps her yard lights on so she can watch the Sochi Winter Olympics from her back porch.

Sheesh!!!!

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Posted: 13 February 2014 04:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Larry, I would greatly appreciate it if you kept exaggerations to a minimum, and attribute things I said to what I actually said. I am no particular fan of utility companies, as I said, and I never said that all new costs were attributable to Obama, did I? I said I suspected that could be a reason for the rise in fees, or words to that effect. Monopolies definitely need government regulations. So keep it real and factual, OK? In my opinion, it makes you look foolish. Carrying discussions to exaggerated extremes is a poor tactic.
But a simple Google search of the EPA suing utility companies will give you hours of reading. The EPA erroneously lists carbon dioxide as a pollutant (try telling plants that hokum).
I have no problem with the EPA regulating dangerous emissions like mercury and sulfur, But they go way overboard.Are you denying that ANY rise in utility costs can be attributed to this president and his EPA SWAT teams? (they actually have their own black clad armed commandos designed to intimidate). You would be wrong if you are.

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Posted: 13 February 2014 04:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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BTW, did you go look at the video?

And again, you and I are going to knock heads if you persist in putting a bunch of words in my mouth. “Romney” ad nauseum. I lose respect fast for people that can’t discuss something like an adult.

Yes, your sarcasm was noted, and you had a point. Try asking me what I think before you fly off the handle though…?

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Posted: 13 February 2014 04:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Do you actually believe Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from her back porch?

The fact that she never said those words throws cold water on your attempt to use it here. I guess it seems funny to those on the left side of the aisle, many of whom were duped into believing she actually said that.

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