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Power Companies Won't Increase Customers' Basic Service Charge


Wednesday, April 22, 2015   

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Customers of Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities will not be hit with a hefty increase in their basic service charge - the monthly fee they pay before even using a watt of electricity. The sister utilities have agreed to drop their request for a 67-percent increase to that flat monthly fee.

The settlement was negotiated with groups that intervened in the rate case, including the Sierra Club and several poverty-fighting nonprofits.

"You can't do anything about the fixed charge," said Judy Lyons, who chairs the Sierra Club in Kentucky, "so the fixed charge not increasing is a big victory in terms of low-income people."

The agreement, which still must be approved by the Kentucky Public Service Commission, will increase some usage rates. The biggest hit will be on KU customers, who will see their average electric bill go up about $9 a month. LG&E customers will pay around $1.25 a month more for gas, but 10 cents less for electricity.

The settlement is expected to give KU an additional $125 million in annual revenue, and another $7 million to LG&E. Lyons called it a fair compromise.

"A lot of people said, 'I have some chance at cutting my usage, but I don't have any chance to save if they increase the fixed rate,' " Lyons said.

KU serves more than a half-million electric customers in 77 Kentucky and five Virginia counties. LG&E serves nearly 400,000 lectric customers and more than 300,000 natural-gas customers in Louisville and 16 surrounding counties.

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