Great Plains Energy, which serves customers as KCP&L, and Westar Energy, Inc., received final regulatory approval from the Kansas Corporation Commission and Missouri Public Service Commission to combine.
The stock-for-stock merger of equals creates a holding company of about $15 billion equity value, which will be named Evergy. 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 companies anticipate a closing date in early June, concluding a two-year effort to combine the two 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.
The companies selected Evergy Inc. 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.
For the immediate future, the company will continue to serve its customers under the familiar Westar and KCP&L brand names. Contact information, billing and account information, program enrollment and outage reporting will remain the same for customers of KCP&L and Westar.
The combined company will serve approximately 1.6 million customers, with a little under 1,000,000 in Kansas and 600,000 in Missouri. In addition, the combined company will own, operate and maintain more than 51,000 miles of distribution lines and 13,000 MW of generation.
With corporate headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., and operational headquarters in both Kansas City, Mo., and Topeka, Kan., Evergy will be the parent of Westar Energy and of KCP&L and KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company, which were previously part of Great Plains Energy.
Together, the company will employ about 5,000 employees across Kansas and Missouri. Company executives will be located in Topeka, Wichita, and Kansas City, and will continue to be engaged in these communities and throughout the combined service territory.
With its focus on renewables, Evergy will meet nearly half of the energy needs for the homes and businesses it serves with energy from zero-emission sources. Nearly one-third will come from renewable energy, making Evergy one of the largest wind energy providers in the nation. In addition, the company is developing more ways to support customers and communities with energy efficiency and additional renewable energy programs.
KCP&L and Westar have long-standing traditions of supporting the communities they serve. Evergy has committed to maintain that support. Employees currently serve on more than 300 community, charitable and volunteer boards. In addition, the companies and their employees donate more than 35,000 hours and millions of dollars to community and charitable organizations annually.