LG&E, KU price hike moves forward

By Matt McCutcheon – bio | email

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - The Kentucky Public Service Commission has formally denied the state Attorney General's motion to dismiss a proposed rate hike by LG&E and Kentucky Utilities.

This means that the proposed rate hike that averages out to roughly $14 a month can go forward.

However, the Attorney General can renew his request at the end of the PSC hearing, which got started on June 8.

The motion to dismiss being denied means that the panel's hearing on the price hike can fully be heard.

LG&E and KU leaders will be questioned by the board on a variety of topics before they make their official decision on the price hike during the hearing, which is expected to wrap up Wednesday afternoon.

Attorney General Jack Conway's office issued the following statement after the Public Service Commission (PSC) denied its request to dismiss the LG&E and KU rate cases, allowing a hearing on the matter to proceed in Frankfort.

"We are disappointed in the Public Service Commission's decision today not to grant our motion to dismiss the LG&E and KU rate increase cases due to the pending sale of their parent company, Eon.  However, we are pleased that the Commission has provided us the opportunity to further develop the issues we are concerned about during the course of the hearing and renew our request for dismissal at a later point in the proceedings. We will continue our vigorous representation of Kentucky ratepayers throughout this hearing."

The utilities, which are Kentucky's largest providers of natural gas and electricity, requested the increase partly to recoup costs from severe storms.

Lonnie Bellar, the Vice President of State Regulation and Rates for LG&E and KU defended the request, and said customers have actually seen rate reductions.

"Our basic service charge, formally known as our customer charge were significantly reduced from the original filing," Bellar said. "In terms of deposits that our customers have to provide - we left those unchanged contrary to our proposal in respect to electricity, and we actually lowered the gas customer charge. We did provide a waiver to our low-income customers with respect to a late-payment charge.

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