Kentucky Attorney General and Mountain Caucus oppose sale of Kentucky Power to Liberty Utilities
The Kentucky Mountain Caucus met Thursday in Frankfort and spoke out against the sale of Kentucky Power.
Liberty Utilities plans to purchase Kentucky Power, but the sale must be approved by the Kentucky Public Service Commission. Kentucky Power serves about 165,000 customers in Eastern Kentucky. Liberty says it plans to reduce customers’ rates by 14 to 16% once the sale goes through.
Representative Angie Hatton is a member of the Mountain Caucus and a Democrat who represents Letcher, parts of Pike and Harlan Counties. Hatton says the Mountain Caucus supports the Attorney General’s opposition to the sale.
“The Attorney General's position is that the sale is not in the best interest of our ratepayers, and that it shouldn't be allowed to continue,” Hatton said.
In a statement, Attorney General Daniel Cameron said that customers deserve reliable and affordable energy.
“I believe that the proposed sale is unlikely to meet these needs, especially given that the purchasers have a stated mission of “greening the fleet,” by replacing existing coal and natural gas generation with renewable energy,” Cameron said.
In an email to WEKU, Cameron’s office said he doesn’t oppose renewable energy, “but believes that Kentuckians benefit from a reliable energy mix of coal, natural gas, and renewables.”
Senator Brandon Smith, is a member of the Mountain Caucus.The Republican represents Breathitt, Estill, Lee, Leslie, Magoffin, Morgan, Perry, Powell and Wolfe counties. He said the state needs to do a better job.
“..To partner with companies that see themselves not going again here and brushing off the history of the state of Kentucky, and forcing some sort of a new renewable because there's tax credits out there, it looks good on their portfolio,” Smith said. “But a much more thoughtful process that takes what they're working on and couples it with the rich natural resources and the talented work build we have, and makes it work together.”
In a joint statement, Kentucky Power and Liberty Utilities said they’ve heard the concerns from the Mountain Caucus and the Attorney General. “We want to continue to work with them to help Eastern Kentucky thrive by providing significant benefits for the region including jobs and lower electric bills for Eastern Kentucky residents,” the statement said.
Gov. Beshear said on Thursday he hopes the Mountain Caucus and the Attorney General will have discussions with Liberty Power about the sale because he doesn’t see another plan for Kentucky Power.
“Kentucky Power has been in a spiral for the last decade increasing their rates on the people who can least afford it,” Beshear said.