JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – In a stunning move, Kansas regulators denied Great Plains Energy’ acquisition of Westar Energy.
The proposed $12.2 billion sale would have allowed for the acquisition of Kansas’ largest electric company by a Missouri utility company.
The decision came down Wednesday afternoon, as the Kansas Corporation Commission delivered their verdict in what had been a long and controversial subject. The KCC voted 3-0 to deny the deal, saying that it was not in the best interest of the public, and was too risky.
Opponents of the deal argued that Great Plains, the parent company of Kansas City Power & Light, would be paying too much, in as much as $4.9 billion, and that the combined company would force utility regulators to raise the rates for its 1.5 million customers to make up for the debt.
The proposed merger would see the company stretch from central Kansas to central Missouri.
But the two companies say the acquisition would create up to $2 billion in efficiencies over the next decade and also keep rates steady.
Great Plains had announced its plan to purchase Westar last year, saying they would buy Westar and assume its more than $3 billion debt.
The proposed merger has also been making its way through the Missouri Public Service Commission, as the PSC was scheduled to receive briefs in the case this Friday.
Benjamin Peters was a reporter for The Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine and also produced the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined The Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield.