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New transmission “super highway” connects west, east Kansas and improves reliability

Portion of Prairie Wind Transmission’s high-capacity line placed in service

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TOPEKA, Kan., June 5, 2014 — Kansans are a step closer to benefitting from a more robust electric transmission system with a portion of the Prairie Wind Transmission line now in service. About 78 miles of the 108-mile, double circuit 345 kilovolt transmission line is complete and moving electricity between Wichita and Medicine Lodge. The line was energized Wednesday. The remainder of the Prairie Wind project, which will take the line from Medicine Lodge south to the Kansas/Oklahoma border, is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2014.

The Prairie Wind line is part of a broader project commonly referred to as the Y-Plan. The Y-Plan will alleviate congestion in the region’s transmission grid. 

“Construction of the line has brought good paying jobs to the communities near the line, giving local economies a boost,” said Kelly Harrison, president of Prairie Wind Transmission and vice president, transmission of Westar Energy. “This line is like an electricity super highway that will strengthen the state’s transmission system for decades, providing Kansas communities with more reliable electricity, enabling development of wind energy and giving Kansans access to lower cost electricity.”

Under this plan, OG&E will continue the Prairie Wind line from the Kansas/Oklahoma border to Woodward, Okla. ITC Great Plains is constructing a line from Medicine Lodge to a Clark County, Kan. substation and then to Spearville, Kan. All of the transmission line projects under the Y-Plan are scheduled to be complete by the end of this year. Through careful project planning and management, the estimated cost of the Prairie Wind line was lowered last fall to $170 million, about 25 percent less than original estimates of $225 million. Prairie Wind is a joint venture formed by Westar Energy and Electric Transmission America — a joint venture of an American Electric Power subsidiary and MidAmerican Transmission — to build and own new electric transmission assets in Kansas.

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Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR) is Kansas’ largest electric utility. For more than a century, we have provided Kansans the safe, reliable electricity needed to power their businesses and homes. Every day our team of professionals takes on projects to generate and deliver electricity, protect the environment and provide excellent service to our nearly 700,000 customers. Westar has 7,200 MW of electric generation capacity fueled by coal, uranium, natural gas, wind and landfill gas. We are also a leader in electric transmission in Kansas. Our innovative customer service programs include mobile-enabled customer care, a smart meter pilot project and paving the way for electric vehicle adoption. Our employees live, volunteer and work in the communities we serve.

For more information about Westar Energy, visit us on the Internet at WestarEnergy.com. Westar Energy is on Facebook: Facebook.com/YourWestar and Twitter: Twitter.com/WestarEnergy.

American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5.3 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio. 

MidAmerican Transmission, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, is committed to the development and longterm ownership of transmission lines throughout the U.S. and Canada. The company has developed approximately $1.6 billion of transmission projects at 345 kilovolts and higher and has experience in traditional utility and stand-alone transmission projects.

Media contact: 
Gina Penzig 
Westar Energy 
Director, corporate communications 
785.575.8089 
gina.penzig@WestarEnergy.com 

Investor contact:
Bruce Burns
Westar Energy
Director, investor relations 
785.575.8227
bruce.burns@WestarEnergy.com

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