Rate increase approved for Northern Ky. Water

The state Public Service Commission on Friday approved a rate increase for the Northern Kentucky Water District, granting $8.07 million more, though that was $84,000 less than the amount requested.

In a news release, the commission, which regulates utilities in the state, said its internal analysis suggested the Northern Kentucky Water could have justified an increase of as much as $11.6 million.

In granting the increase, though, the PSC criticized the utility for paying for club memberships, employee gifts and promotional items, and it said about $84,000 of that cannot be charged to customers, according to a news release.

The increase is expected to raise the average quarterly bill for residential customers $24.36, or about 25 percent, to $122.98. The increase will be slightly smaller because of the $84,000 reduction in the rate request by the PSC.

The utility, which serves about 80,000 customers in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties, will implement the rate increases in two equal phases at the beginning of 2011 and 2012, according to the PSC.