Council may ask KU to explain rate increase

Lexington's Urban County Council voted during its work session on Tuesday to give first reading Thursday to a resolution that would ask officials of Kentucky Utilities to meet with council members to answer questions about a proposed rate increase.

A similar request of Kentucky American Water about a proposed increase in residential water rates has led to a standoff between the city government and the company, which has refused to appear.

Chip Keeling, a spokesman for Kentucky Utilities, said Tuesday the utility is "amenable to come in." "We meet on a regular basis with members of the metro council on other topics and issues," Keeling said. "We would be more than willing to come in and discuss what we can at this point in time in the process."

KU filed for a rate increase with the state Public Service Commission earlier this year. Under the proposed rate increase, the average monthly bill for residential customers would rise to $98.11, up about 13.5 percent from the current average of about $86.41.

The discussion originated before the Urban County Council after Councilman Kevin Stinnett introduced a resolution that would convey to the PSC that the city government is "strongly opposed" to KU's request because of the impact it would have on customers.

Stinnett, however, opposed the amendment that would ask KU to appear before the council. He argued the city should have requested that earlier this year instead of now.