(The Center Square) – A utility provider covering Eastern Kentucky announced it filed an agreement it reached with several parties to the state’s Public Service Commission regarding its proposed rate increase.
According to a statement by Kentucky Power, the agreement means residential customers in its 20-county service area will see a rate increase of “less than 11%.” Earlier this year, it filed a request for an 18% rate hike that had been met with stiff opposition, including comments at a Nov. 9 PSC hearing. Another hearing was scheduled for Monday in Pikeville, according to Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.
Besides KFTC, other organizations in the settlement include Kentucky Industrial Utility Customers, the Mountain Association, the Appalachian Law Center and the Kentucky Resources Council. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office signed the agreement as a non-opposing party.
The PSC must still approve the settlement, which Kentucky Power hopes will take effect in mid-January.
Besides reducing the rates, the agreement will also extend due dates for Kentucky Power customers from 15 to 21 days. The utility provider will more than double its contribution toward its residential assistance program. It currently helps 2,700 customers annually and will now help 5,700. It previously sought an increase to add 1,000 additional customers.
“Kentucky Power customers will benefit from this agreement, which will allow us to provide additional services for our most vulnerable customers and improve reliability,” said Cindy Wiseman, Kentucky Power president and COO. “The agreement represents a constructive and positive step forward for our customers that was accomplished through a meaningful collaboration between the company and key customer groups. It provides us with a pathway for investing in eastern Kentucky.”
Kentucky Power provides electricity to some of Kentucky’s poorest counties and those hit with disastrous flooding and other severe storms in recent years. Despite that, the utility’s residential customers pay some of the highest rates in the state.
A subsidiary of American Electric Power, Kentucky Power serves more than 160,000 customers. AEP previously tried to sell the utility company to Liberty Utilities, but it announced the proposed $2.6 billion deal fell through in April. That happened after federal regulators raised concerns about Liberty’s ability to maintain affordable rates nearly a year ago.