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Last Chance to Be Vocal About KY Power's Rate Increase

Some Eastern Kentuckians say they've had enough of Kentucky Power's rate increases. (Pixabay)
Some Eastern Kentuckians say they've had enough of Kentucky Power's rate increases. (Pixabay)
November 8, 2017

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Time is running out to comment on Kentucky Power's plan to raise electric bills by 15 percent.

The third in a series of public hearings about the proposal will be held Wednesday night in Ashland.

The Public Service Commission approved rate increases for the utility in 2006, 2010 and 2015, and the current request would tack about $20 more onto the average monthly electric bill.

Community organizer Steve Brewer contends people have had enough.

"Kentucky Power, they just keep gouging people,” he states. “It comes to the point that the residents of Eastern Kentucky either have to pay their power bill or pay their rent, or pay their power bill or buy groceries. It's just not sustainable."

Kentucky Power says its request came after great consideration, and maintains an increase is needed to recover lost revenue because of declined load, fully recover operating costs and maintain a reasonable rate of return.

The PSC will accept public comments through Dec. 6 when an evidentiary hearing in the case will be held in Frankfort.

Rev. Jerry Utt, pastor of Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church in Whitesburg, says these rate hikes impact him as both a residential and commercial customer. He says he gets calls from folks who don't know where else to turn when they can't afford their electric bills.

"We tell them we don't have the funds to do that, and that's a truthful thing,” he states. “It's just a really hard situation, and then there are some months it's a little bit of a struggle for us to pay the bill, too. So we're in the same sort of boat even when people are calling to ask us to help them."

Attorney General Andy Beshear has been vocal in his opposition and has suggested that the utility better control spending and reduce its return to shareholders.

While Kentucky Power contends it has made many cost saving measures, Brewer is doubtful.

"You're talking about Kentucky Power clearing $63 million-plus last year,” he points out. “But yet they ask the people of Eastern Kentucky to pay for everything they do. If they put up a roll of toilet paper, that cost is passed on."

Kentucky Power says the rate increase would provide about $60 million in additional revenue.

The Public Service Commission must make a decision by May 18 of next year.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - KY