Westar Energy, Inc. announced last month that phase one of a high-capacity transmission line project in south-central Kansas is complete and is now delivering electric service to customers.

Phase one of the new 345 kV transmission line spans from near the Gordon Evans Energy Center in Colwich, just northwest of Wichita, to the new Reno County Substation near Hutchinson. Phase one was anticipated to go online between late 2008 and June 2009. This portion of the line was put in service on Dec. 20. Phase two of the transmission line project will extend the line from the Hutchinson area to the Summit Substation near Salina. Construction of that portion of the line will begin the first part of January 2009 and is expected to be completed by early to mid 2010.

“The new line marks another completed milestone in Westar's commitment to building a robust transmission system in Kansas. We would like to thank all of those involved who helped make this happen. The successful completion of this line demonstrates that, when we work together with government agencies, landowners and communities, transmission can be built in Kansas in a safe and timely manner,” said Kelly Harrison, vice president, transmission operations and environmental services.

The line will allow Westar Energy to use its power plants more efficiently, saving its customers in fuel costs as well as increase reliability in the area. Additionally, it will improve regional access to wholesale power markets