About 50 people gathered at a middle school in West Louisville Tuesday night to tell the state’s Public Service Commission what they think about proposed utility rate increases. Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities have both proposed rate increases to help the companies recover the costs for new pollution-reducing technology that will soon be required by the federal government. If the PSC approves the increase, it’ll be staggered over four years. LG&E’s typical ratepayer (who uses about 1,000 kilowatt hours per month) will see their bill increase by about two dollars next year, and eventually by 2016 the bill will be about $16.00 higher. Most of those testifying to commissioners were against the rate increase. Reverend Milton Seymore of the Justice Resource Center says he thinks LG&E should have to absorb the costs without help from ratepayers.
“I think a company that’s doing business must understand that there are some costs you have to pay,” he said. “We all have losses and we cannot recover those losses.”
But Sarah Lynn Cunningham, who represents the Louisville Climate Action Network, wasn’t sure what she thought about the proposed increase. She spoke to the commissioners about the public health benefits the community would see if the pollution controls are installed.
“If we have fewer heart attacks and fewer asthma attacks and fewer asthma incidents, that’s going to save the general public a fair amount of money,” she said. “So I think we need to look at the out-of-pocket costs in the context of the savings as well.”
Whether or not the PSC grants the rate increase, LG&E will have to comply with federal environmental regulations. The final two public meetings will be Wednesday in Lexington and Thursday in Corbin.