Westar Energy, Inc.
) has received route approval from the Kansas Corporation
Commission to implement a transmission project. The company will
invest $66 million in this venture. The project is expected to be
completed in the end of 2016.
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Westar Energy and
ITC Holdings Corp.
) unit ITC Great Plains along with Mid Kansas Electric will
jointly build the high-voltage 345-kilovolt transmission line.
Westar Energy will construct southern half of the transmission
line. The transmission line will link Westar Energy's Summit
Substation, located approximately 5 miles northeast of Assaria in
Saline County, to the Elm Creek Substation, nearly 4 miles
northwest of Aurora in Cloud County.
We note that Westar Energy has conducted an engineering study and
discussed with local landowners to ascertain the probable
transmission routes. After finalizing the route map, the company
submitted the proposal to the Kansas Corporation Commission.
One of the main reasons to invest in this project is to improve
reliability of electricity supply. The project will enable the
expansion of the industrial, commercial and residential loads and
help to redress possible failures of the existing line. The
transmission line will benefit the regional electrical grid,
administered by the Southwest Power Pool. These initiatives will
subsequently improve consumer confidence and public safety.
Apart from boosting electric reliability, Westar Energy's current
project will also create employment opportunities during
construction, which will subsequently improve local economy.
Westar Energy will recoup the project expenditure from Southwest
Power Pool's customers, which will in turn boost the confidence
of the company to invest more on infrastructure upgrades.
Westar Energy invests regularly for the improvement of its
utility transmission and distribution operations, as well as for
the installation of modern technologies. During the first six
months of 2013, the company invested $0.4 billion under its
capital spending program. The company is in the middle of several
projects, including the Post Rock Wind Farm project, Ironwood
Wind Power project and Prairie Wind joint venture. We believe the
successful completion of these projects will enable Westar Energy
to serve more customers, which will improve its future results.
Westar Energy currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However,
other stocks in the industry that are worth considering include
Huaneng Power International, Inc.
) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and
Alliant Energy Corp.
) with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Topeka, Kan.-based Westar Energy is an electric utility, which
engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of
electricity in Kansas.