KY Regulators Rein In Proposed Utility Rate Hikes
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The Kentucky Public Service Commission has rejected proposed rate hikes by Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities, instead setting new rate increases lower than what the companies had asked for. Advocates called the decision a win for consumers.
Cathy Kuhn, executive director of the Metro Housing Coalition, explained the average bill of a typical customer will increase by around 7% per month, or an additional $8. "We don't like to see any increase in our gas or electric rates, but we were very pleased to see that the increase was much less than what the company was initially asking for," Kuhn stated.
The companies also must comply with a so-called stay out provision, which prevents another rate increase from being implemented before July 2025. Several community groups were interveners in the case, including the Metro Housing Coalition, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and the Kentucky Solar Energy Society.
Charlotte Whittaker, volunteer state president of AARP Kentucky, said fifty-plus residents across the Commonwealth are already struggling with rising living costs and economic stability coming out of the pandemic. She pointed out many residents couldn't have afforded the proposed 12% rate hike in their electric bills and 9% increase for gas. "We have so many seniors that are on a very fixed income," Whittaker noted. "And it's a choice they will have to make. Do they not buy their medicine? Do they try to buy fewer groceries?" Whittaker added over the last few months, AARP Kentucky has mobilized its volunteers to call on the Public Service Commission to carefully consider if the rate increase was reasonable.
Kuhn noted the commission also decided against raising the companies' basic monthly charge. "Which is really the amount that customers pay regardless of how much energy they use," Kuhn explained.
The commission also approved a one-year economic relief surcredit totaling $38.9 million for LG&E's electric customers, $2.7 million for LG&E's natural-gas customers, and $11.9 million for K-U's customers.