Kentucky Power, consumer advocate groups agree to settlement in rate increase case
A settlement between Kentucky Power and consumer advocate groups has been reached as part of a case in front of the Public Service Commission that looks to increase energy costs for around 163,000 residents in 20 eastern Kentucky counties.
The original proposal would have increased the average utility bill by around 18 percent for each customer. The settlement has that amount reduced to around 11 percent.
The proposed rate increase comes with cost of living concerns from consumer advocate groups like Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center in one of Kentucky’s poorest regions.
Testimony from Kentucky Power President and Chief Operating Officer Cynthia Wiseman says the rate increase reflects the costs of a declining customer base and the closure of large business customers like AKSteel, AirGas and Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital.
A statement from Kentucky Power says it will double its contribution and add 3,000 more customers to its residential energy assistance program as part of the agreement. Twenty-one percent of any future energy efficiency programs will also go towards assisting its most vulnerable customers.
The company will also add an optional seasonal tariff to help customers address higher rates during the winter, increase reliability projects and extend bill due dates from 15 to 21 days.
A hearing for the case in front of the Public Service Commission is scheduled to begin November 28 and could continue through December 6. The new utility rate will go into effect in January if approved.