Westar Energy, Inc., Topeka, Kansas, has published a comprehensive energy plan that outlines the company's plans to meet growing customer needs while operating in rapidly changing financial, environmental and political climates.

The plan is entitled "Meeting Our Customers' Energy Needs: A Strategic Plan for Uncertain Times." As outlined in the plan, Westar's strategy embraces state and federal policies encouraging greater reliance on energy efficiency and the development of more transmission and renewable energy sources. It also calls for deferring as long as possible constructing a new conventional coal plant, but maintaining existing coal plants and making substantial investments in them to improve their environmental performance. During this period of deferral, Westar will be vigilant regarding the development and costs of emerging generation technologies that are not yet commercially feasible. The strategy also would extend the operating life of existing nuclear generation.

"We are staying true to our mission as an electric-only utility with this strategy," said Bill Moore, Westar president and CEO. "We recognize and respect that there will be differences as to how best we should proceed. Nevertheless, we offer our plan as an invitation to engage in a constructive discussion with policy-makers and interested customers on the challenges we face together. It is intended to be an open, transparent disclosure of how we see our future. We hope it will be viewed as a useful contribution to broader policy forums where energy and environmental issues are considered and thoughtfully discussed."