In an effort to lower utility prices, many states across the country now offer their citizens “retail choice,” or the opportunity to select an energy supply company. Although the retail electricity market remains regulated, Kansas has enacted incentives to encourage the construction of “merchant power plants” — facilities that generate electricity for sale to retail providers.
Other options, such as the development of renewable energy, are supported by Kansas leaders interested in maintaining a healthy and competitive energy market.
Most of the Topeka/Shawnee County area is serviced by Westar Energy and many of the industrial areas in our community have dual feed capabilities. Westar Energy is the largest electric energy provider in Kansas. They provide generation, transmission and distribution to approximately 687,000 customers in much of east and east-central Kansas. Westar Energy is dedicated to operating the best electric utility in the Midwest and providing quality service at below average prices.
Westar’s energy centers in eleven Kansas communities generate more than 7,000 megawatts of electricity, and they operate and coordinate 34,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines.
Kansas benefits from one of the world’s largest deposits of natural gas, a resource that translates into easy access and excellent prices for natural gas consumers. The Hugoton Gas Field in southwest Kansas covers over 4,800 square miles and supplies over 90 percent of all natural gas produced in the state.
Kansas Gas Service supplies natural gas to the Topeka/Shawnee County area. Kansas Gas Service is the largest natural gas distribution utility in Kansas, providing clean, reliable natural gas to more than 634,000 customers in 360 communities.
High-speed Internet, Broadband and wireless Broadband access are common throughout the greater Topeka area. Digital, wireless and long-distance services are provided by a number of major and regional carriers. Kansas enjoys one of the most sophisticated and reasonably priced telecommunications systems in the nation, thanks to our state-of-the-art technology and the competitive advantage of our central location. In order to maintain this leading-edge position, well over $200 million is being invested annually in new technologies and related infrastructure development.
Water, Wastewater and Stormwater
The following services are supplied by the City of Topeka
The Public Works Water Division supplies water to over 57,000 retail and wholesale accounts in and around Topeka, as well as several rural water districts in Northeast Kansas. Over 165,000 people are served water daily from the Topeka Water Treatment Plant. Water is supplied from the Kansas River and highly drought tolerant through purchased water storage in surrounding lakes. Water from the Kansas River is processed in one of three treatment systems with a combined pumping capacity of 63 mgd. The average daily use is 25 mgd with a peak demand to date of 45 mgd.
The Water Pollution Control Division operates and maintains three city owned waste treatment plants: The Oakland Wastewater Treatment Plant, the North Topeka Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Sherwood Wastewater Treatment Plant. The wastewater treatment plants have the combined capacity to treat, on the average, 17 million gallons of wastewater daily (average dry weather flow). Associated with the wastewater treatment plants are over 78 pump stations, 13,000 manholes and 880 miles of sewers.
In addition, the Division operates and maintains the storm-water system. The Division is responsible for the operation and maintenance of approximately 250 miles of storm sewer lines within the City of Topeka, 250 miles of storm sewers, 35 miles of channels, and 22 miles of river levees within the City of Topeka.
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