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Lexington And Louisville Intervene In Utilities' Rate Case

Stu Johnson

The governments of Kentucky’s two largest cities are intervening in a utility rate case.  It involves a request by two well-known power companies. 

The rate hike proposal before the Kentucky Public Service Commission comes from Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas and Electric.  Utilities Spokeswoman Natasha Collins says the rate increase is needed because the utility makes ongoing upgrades to the electrical system. “Put in new steel poles.  Replacing the old wood poles.  Put in new circuit breakers, new substation equipment.  It enables us to invest in that automated equipment that helps to pinpoint the location of outages, isolate those outages and restore service to our customers,” said Collins.

KU, which serves 77 counties including the Lexington area, is seeking a 10.7% increase.  L-G and E, which serves Louisville and surrounding counties, is asking for 11.6% more in electricity revenue and 8.3% in natural gas revenue. 
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said, quote, “there’s no good time to ask for rate hike, but it’s hard to imagine a worse time than in the middle of a pandemic.” 

Collins said KU and L-G and E realize the trying times of 2020.  She says the decision to move forward with the request was not made without first giving it serious thought.  “We actually allowed a couple of months actually to go by to allow for more economic recovery before we made the filing.  So, we understand that, but we are at a point where we need the Commission to look at our rates,” noted Collins.

This is the fourth time KU has sought to increase rates for Lexington consumers since 2014.   If the state Public Service Commission granted the requests, Collins noted the full impact of the rate hikes wouldn’t be felt until mid-2022.

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