Kansas-based utility to receive 'smart grid' funds

LAWRENCE, KANSAS - Westar Energy Inc. says it will receive federal stimulus dollars for energy efficiency upgrades in Lawrence.

The Topeka-based utility said it received notice from the U.S.

Department of Energy that it was selected to receive part of $3.4 billion in stimulus funds for so-called "smart grid" projects. Those projects are aimed at bringing energy systems into the digital age.

Westar says the department hasn't determined how much it will receive but said it was eligible for more than $19 million. Westar had sought $20 million of the project's almost $40 million price tag.

The project will provide electric customers in Lawrence with programmable thermostats that they can monitor and adjust online, helping reduce their power consumption and helping Westar deal with periods of peak energy demand.



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