Citizens Say No to Kentucky Power Electric Rate Increase
Over 1,000 comments turned in urging Public Service Commission to reject Kentucky Power Company’s proposed 30% rate increase
[Frankfort, KY] – On Friday, April 27, 2012, Representatives of the Sierra Club, and the Kentucky Environmental Foundation presented over 1,000 comments from citizens across the state urging the Public Service Commission (PSC) to reject Kentucky Power Company’s (KPC) request to raise electric rates 30 percent to pay for a scrubber to be installed on their Big Sandy coal-fired power plant. Concerned about health and financial costs associated with the coal plant, citizens called for the plant’s closure.
“Kentucky Power Company’s request will place an unreasonable financial burden upon 175,000 citizens in eastern Kentucky who have already seen their rates go up 17% over the last couple years,” said Alex DeSha, a representative of Sierra Club and KPC ratepayer. “The Kentucky Public Service Commission is a public institution responsible for ensuring citizens are provided with safe, reliable energy service at a fair and reasonable rate, this proposal will place an unreasonable financial burden on ratepayers- the Big Sandy should be retired and we need to pursue better options.”
Sierra Club, represented by Earth Justice, recently submitted expert testimony by Synapse Energy Economics to the commission challenging Kentucky Power Company’s plan to charge ratepayers $940 million to retrofit the Big Sandy coal plant. Synapse Energy Economics testimony demonstrates that replacing the 43-year-old Big Sandy with energy efficiency, renewable energy, and cleaner natural gas generation would result in a substantial savings for ratepayers over the proposed retrofit.
Kentucky Environmental Foundation’s health coordinator, Deborah Payne, MPH., detailed that the costs of burning coal go beyond what is seen on electric bills. “While the costs of coal based energy are continuing to increase, it is also important to recognize other embodied costs of this energy source. Dollars spent treating asthma and heart disease caused by coal plant emissions create an unfair burden on Kentuckians.” John A. Patterson MD, MSPH, FAAFP was equally forthright, “Pollution at any level from coal fired power plants affects all human organ systems and contributes to 4 of the 5 leading causes of death in the U.S.- heart disease, cancer, stroke and chronic lung disease”
The Public Service Commission is scheduled to hear testimony on the case this Monday, April 30th at 10 a.m. in the commission’s office in Frankfort, Kentucky. The proceedings are open to the public and will be streamed live at http://psc.ky.gov.
Filed testimony is available on the Commission’s electronic docket, located at: http://psc.ky.gov/Home/Library?type=Cases&folder=2011%20cases/2011-00401