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Westar Energy awarded for its arbor-friendly practices 

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TOPEKA, Kan., March 27, 2014 — Tree Line USA and the Kansas Forest Service (KFS) today recognized Westar Energy for its commitment to proper pruning, planting and care of trees throughout its service territory. A ceremony took place this morning at the Derby City Hall to honor the company and its employees. 

Westar Energy has been awarded the Tree Line USA Utility award for the 15 consecutive year. Tree Line USA is a national program recognizing public and private utilities that protect and enhance America’s urban trees. 

Westar employees’ arbor-friendly practices have earned the company more designations than any other Kansas utility. Since 2010, the company has taken a proactive approach to higher quality vegetation management with its ReliabiliTree program. ReliabiliTree is an enhanced vegetation management program where trees are naturally pruned, instead of topped, to train trees to grow around power lines while retaining their natural form. By reducing conflicts between trees and power lines, ReliabiliTree demonstrates our commitment to delivering low-cost, reliable electricity to our customers while supporting the health and beauty of trees around our service territory. 

“We work diligently to provide safe and reliable electric service while protecting the natural resources that make this area so unique,” said Don Reinert, manager, vegetation. “We are proud to receive an award that acknowledges our ongoing efforts to educate customers about our vegetation management program and the importance of planting the right tree in the right place.” 

Westar achieved the Tree Line USA award by meeting five program standards: following industry standards for quality tree care; providing annual worker training in best tree-care practices; sponsoring a tree-planting and public education program; maintaining a tree-based energy conservation program; and participating in an Arbor Day celebration. 

The Tree Line USA Utility is program sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters.
 
During the ceremony, Brad Loveless, executive director, environmental services, was named the Kansas State Arborist of the Year by KFS. Loveless was nominated by Tim McDonnell, KFS’s community forestry coordinator, for his high level of involvement in taking care of natural resources and serving people through forestry. “Brad is well-deserving of this recognition because of all that he has done over the years,” said McDonnell.

Scott Gilsdorf, substation foreman, also was recognized at the ceremony for his design of the pavilion at the John C. Pair Horticulture Center in Haysville, which was built by the Westar Energy Green Team, a group of employee and retiree volunteers, last fall. “We want to thank Scott for his design and the Green Team for their hard work in building the pavilion. It will house tree seminars, meetings and other environment-related educational events for years to come,” said McDonnell. 

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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.


Media Contact: 
Gina Penzig 
Director, corporate communications 
Phone: 785.575.8089 
Gina.Penzig@westarenergy.com
Media line: 888.613.0003 

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