The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 11, 2001 · Page 12
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 12

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Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, April 11, 2001
Page:
Page 12
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B4 WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2001 GREAT PLAINS THE SALINA JOURNAL• UTILITY RATES Wichita may not pursue own plant Gity hopes proposed plan for KGE rate cuts becomes reality By The Associated Press TOPEKA -- Wichita may consider dropping its plan to create a municipal power company if electric rates for Western Resources' KGE subsidiary are cut by more than $90 million a year, city officials said. State regulatory staff recommended a $92 million cut Friday Mayor Bob Knight and Councilman Joe Pisciotte told The Wichita Eagle Monday that the rate cut could save the city more money than having its own power company. The city has spent $300,000 studying ways to take over from KGE and recently approved an­ other $100,000 to launch negotiations to try to acquire the utility's Wichita operations. A consultant hired by the city to explore municipal power has estimated that Wichita could save its citizens $645 million over 20 years if it took the system public. If the rate relief proposed by the KCC staff were spread evenly among KGE consumers, Wichita customers would see about the same amount of savings in only 10 or 11 years. Wichitans make up about two-thirds of KGE's 270,000 customers in southeast and south- central Kansas. KGE and Topeka-based Western Resources have said they do not believe that taking the Wichita power system public would benefit customers under any circumstances. Rates / KCC plan would benefit KGE FROM PAGE B1 issue of rate parity In Novem- ber.an administrative judge for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected Wichita's request to equalize the rates charged by Western's two electric units. "They are attempting once again to shift the cost of Wolf Creek to the KPL area," Frieden said. "It's more of the same. And I know everybody in the KPL area had hoped that Wichita had abandoned this." The KCC staff's proposal would narrow the difference between what KGE and KPL residential customers pay per kilowatt hour to 0.36 cents from the current 1.41 cents. KCC spokeswoman Rosemary Foreman said the staff did not take a position on equalizing rates. A separate hearing on that issue is planned after the Western rate hearings are complete. However, rate parity is likely to surface, particularly in Wichita, when the public hearings begin, Foreman said. "It's impossible to talk about rates Without rate parity being an issue," Foreman said. Western has said it needs the rate increases to cover the costs of new construction and keep up with inflation. The last time state regulators granted KPL and KGE rate increase was in 1983 and 1989, respectively Western earns an 11.1 percent profit on its electric operations, but the company wants to increase it to 12.75 percent. KCC staff recommended decreasing what the company earns to 10.4 percent profit. Natural gas refund debate ends By The Associated Press TOPEKA — State utility regulators finished hearing testimony Tuesday on how to distribute about $37 million from a settlement with natural gas producers. The Kansas Corporation Commission could issue an order within two weeks. Commissioner Brian Moline said. The settlement stemmed from a 1997 finding by federal regulators that natural gas producers improperly passed property taxes along to residential and commercial Qustomers in the mid-1980s. Legislators have urged the KCC to place the money in a relief fund and direct it to low-income residential customers. Some of the state's large cor- Pool & Spa SERVICE 8i23-7512 porate and municipal customers have sought a share of the money, saying they can prove they also overpaid during the 1980s. Tuesday's final witness was Dennis Kies, who during the 1980s represented the Midwest Gas Users Association, a group of corporate and municipal customers. Kies said distributing the settlement based solely on need would have one class of ratepayers — large industrial users — subsidizing another — low-income residential users. He said past commissions usually avoided such arrangements. GREAT PLAINS SATELLITE 452-9595 326 S. BROADWAY, SALINA 4\ PEGASUS SAIEltlT£ ItUVISION DIRECTV.^ SATEUITE TV AT ITS BEST Pre-Easter Sale! Through April I4th 25% oflF Spring Dresses & Suits X he fitter womens clothing Fashion Palette Downtown Minneapolis 786-392-3036 9 -5, Monday-Saturday • After hours by Appointment SOFAS • SOFAS • SOFAS SHOCKEY & LANDES <(^URNITUREANDGIFTS&> 324 N. Broadway, Abilene, Kansas Mon.-Fri. 9-5:30 • Sat. 9-5:00 • 785-263-4770 Financing Available • Pclivei-y Available Bl W| Like a good neighbor State Farm is there.® ' Marsha Hoffhines Agent 122 N. Santa Fe Ave., Salina 785-827-1707 Stale Fatm Insurance Companies » Home Ollices: Bloomlnglon, Illinois Connecting / Plan to take time FROM PAGE B1 Those services could be any that avoid a dial-in modem, including through the use of wireless and satellite technology. By'July 1, 2004, three-fourths of the schools, universities, community colleges, technical colleges and hospitals that applied to participate in the network would have to be connected. The regents would spend $345,000 over the next year studying the needs of those institutions. "This year, we're in the design phase," said Senate Commerce Chairwoman Karin Brownlee, R-Olathe. Both chambers approved a compromise version of the bill last week. The Senate vote was 37-3, and the House vote, 119-5. Supporters of the biU worry that without the KAN-ED network, rural areas of the state will not be able to take full advantage of new communications technology "We've got the rudiments of a system," said Rep. Tom Sloan, R- Lawrence, who helped draft the final version of the bill. "But there's been no coordination." When lawmakei-s • debated KAN-ED legislation last year, critics wondered if the state would be spending millions of dollars to set up a network to compete with private businesses. Last year, Graves proposed spending $4.5 million to get the network started. Questioned about the network's possible costs, Brownlee acknowledged she and other supporters don't have any figures. Rep. Laura McClure, D-Osborne, who also was involved in drafting the bill's final version, noted the state was eligible last yeAr for $9 million in federal' funds — and had to return it because no KAN-ED law was in place. ' Finally, supporters had to answer questions about whether public institutions would use filters to keep people from accessing pornography and other inappropriate material. The bill leaves such decisions to local officials. "The potential of pornographic materials coming into the classroom is very, very real," said Sen. Kay O'Connor, R- Olathe, who voted against the bUl. Fugitive suspected in kidnapping of Nebraska girl By The Associated Press KEARNEY, Neb. — The man wanted for kidnapping a teenage honor student from outside a local mall may have spent time there before Friday's abduction. Police have received two reports possibly linking Anthony Zappa to the mall parking lot before the kidnapping, the earliest coming the day before, Capt. Bryon Patterson said Tuesday Zappa, a fugitive wanted in several states for theft, assault and illegal gun possession, is the lead suspect in the disappearance of 17-year-old Anne Sluti. Patterson said spmeone slashed the tires of a parked car driven by a young woman the day before Sluti was kidnapped from the parking lot. Witnesses said the vehicle used by the vandal matched the description of the stolen Chevy FREE Roth IRA Information .^^WADDELL ^^^^^ Financial Services" waddell.com Member SIPC Investing. With a plan °" Suburban used in the kidnapping and found abandoned in Montana near where Zappa and Sluti were reportedly spotted Sunday A young woman also identified Zappa as being in the parking lot Friday evening, minutes before Sluti was kidnapped. Patterson said the young woman saw Zappa near the spot where Sluti's purse and belongings were found after she was hit over the head and dragged into the Suburban. The young woman felt uncomfortable enough about the man that she reported him to police. It was not immediately known if the report came be- taken license plates from sever- fore or after Sluti's abduction. al Kearney vehicles before the The suspect also may have abduction. PUJMBrNG Don't Sleep With A Drip! April 16th is right around the comer. 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