PSC sets public meetings in KU, LG&E rate cases

The state Public Service Commission on Thursday announced public meetings to receive comments from customers of Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas and Electric on proposed rate increases.

The PSC will have the meetings in Lexington, Harlan and Louisville. The Louisville meeting is intended for customers of LG&E, but public comments will also be accepted from KU customers.

Written comments will also be accepted at the meeting or can be e-mailed to the PSC from its Web site at; mailed to the organization at P.O. Box 615, Frankfort, Ky. 40602; or faxed to (502) 564-9625.

The utilities, which are owned by Pennsylvania-based PPL Corp., asked for the rate increases earlier this year to pay for a series of generation and transmission upgrades made in recent years.

For KU customers, the proposal would amount to a yearly increase of $82.4 million, or 6.5 percent. The average monthly bill for residential customers would rise $7.41 to $99.71, an increase of about 8 percent.

Among the improvements cited by the utility was $338 million spent on generation upgrades, including costs related to the opening of a 585-megawatt unit at the company's Trimble County plant. Also included is an upgrade to KU's hydroelectric station at Dix Dam.

The company also has added 175 jobs, including many at a new customer call center in Morganfield to help reduce the number of complaints that spurred a PSC audit of the utility's customer service.

The proposal is the latest in a series of changes for KU customers. Among those is approval by the PSC in May of KU's request to replace some of its coal-fired production with a natural gas-fired power unit. KU expects eventually to ask for an increase in rates to pay for it.

For LG&E electric customers, the proposed yearly increase is $62.1 million, or 6.9 percent. That amounts to a monthly increase of $7.25 for the average residential customer.

For LG&E natural gas customers, the proposed increase is $17.2 million, or 7.1 percent. That amounts to a monthly increase of $5.77 for the average residential customer.