Westar Energy ( WR) posted a 28% decline in first-quarter earnings and said it will reduce spending in 2010 and 2011.

During the quarter, the company earned $43.9 million, or 40 cents a share, compared with $60.9 million, or 62 cents a share, a year ago.

Excluding tax adjustments, the company earned 10 cents a share. Analysts were looking for first-quarter earnings of 21 cents a share

Revenue rose 4% to $421.8 as lower sales volumes were offset by price increases.

Westar said it would cut 2010 and 2011 spending plans by $500 million, or 27%, in response to the economic crisis. "Both for our customers and our investors, it makes sense to adjust our plans given the soft economy and higher cost of capital," said CEO Bill Moore said in a statement. "Our ability to defer and reschedule some of our planned projects into future years demonstrates the merits of our flexible and balanced approach to capital spending."

The company reaffirmed its full-year outlook in the range of $1.65 to $1.90 a share.

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