11:19am

Tue September 6, 2011
Business and the Economy

Hearings on KU/LG&E Rates Underway

One of the Kentucky Public Service Commission’s public meetings on proposed utility rate increases is scheduled for tonight in Louisville. Commissioners will give an educational presentation about the request, then take testimony from the public.Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities have requested that the PSC allow them to raise utility rates to pay for environmental upgrades to their power plants. LG&E estimates total electric bills will rise by about 19 percent by 2016 for their customers, and KU customers will see bills increase by about 12 percent.

PSC spokesman Andrew Melnykovych says public meetings are useful as the commissioners weigh whether or not to grant rate increases. Yes, he says, people often just complain about having to pay higher rates. But at a hearing in a Kentucky Power case a few years ago:

“People said, ‘and I’m particularly angry about these higher rates because this utility has not done what we think is an adequate job in maintaining its rights of way and therefore their reliability is lower than it ought to be because things fall across their lines all the time and we lose power,’” he said.

The utility ended up settling for half of what it asked for.

The public meeting is at 5:30 tonight at Louisville’s Johnson Traditional Middle School.