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Thursday, May 24, 2018

KCC Approves Westar/Kansas City Power and Light merger

Kevin Surbaugh


Kansas City, MO, and Topeka, KS -The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) announced Thursday (May 24, 2018) that it had approved a settlement agreement giving Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy (the parent company of Kansas City Power and Light) approval to merge as equals. Under the agreement, the two companies will become wholly owned subsidiaries of a new parent company and serve more than 1.5 million customers in Kansas and Missouri.
Responding to questions from the Gazette, Gina Penzig, Westar spokesperson said the new name of the holding company will be, Evergy, Inc. (NYSE: EVRG) once the merger is complete in early June.  The two divisions will retain their individual names until sometime next year (2019) at which time they will be renamed under the Evergy name. Contact information, billing and account information, program enrollment and outage reporting will remain the same for customers of KCP&L and Westar.
Its principal business will be conducted by the operating companies known today as Westar and KCP&L.
“As neighbors, KCP&L and Westar have served customers in Kansas and Missouri for more than 100 years. This merger allows us to be even more efficient as we continue providing excellent customer service while maintaining competitive prices,” said Terry Bassham, chairman and chief executive officer of Great Plains Energy, who will be president and CEO of Evergy. “We appreciate that regulators and shareholders recognize the value in combining the companies.”
The utilities have guaranteed more than $100 million in customer bill credits with $29 million upfront for Missouri customers and $75 million for Kansas customers over the first five years after the merger closes. In addition, once currently pending rate reviews are resolved, the companies have agreed to fix their base rates for up to five years in Kansas as a result of the merger.
“Customers will benefit from bringing together two innovative teams of employees who are active in the communities we serve and take pride in providing excellent customer service. The increased scale and efficiency will deliver savings not possible without the merger,” Bassham said.

 In a statement from the two companies, they chose Evergy as the name to represent their combined identity. Evergy is a blend of “ever” and “energy,” capturing the history of its predecessors as reliable, enduring sources of energy for the communities they serve and its vision to continue far into the future.

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