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January 25, 2018

AG’s office refused to settle for raising residential rates over 9 percent

Andy Beshear Andy Beshear


FRANKFORT, KY. (Jan. 24, 2018) – Last June, AEP/Kentucky Power filed before the Public Service Commission to raise utility bills for Eastern Kentucky families yet again.

It was crushing news.

Rates had already increased 51 percent since 2006.

Yet, Kentucky Power sought an additional increase of 16 percent.

Families who already had some of the highest bills in the entire state and whose communities are suffering from the highest rates of poverty and unemployment were being asked to pay the most.

All the while Kentucky Power’s revenues from Kentucky customers increased $217 million over the last 12 years.

When the company first called for an increase in June, my office received dozens of calls from families saying this was a life-or-death issue for them.

The realities we heard are tragic.

Some Eastern Kentucky children said the only thing they wanted for Christmas was to keep the lights on.

In October, I made a joint announcement in Pikeville with county judge-executives, area legislators, advocates and citizens where I promised to fight. I stated publicly, and to Kentucky Power, that I would oppose any increase.

The legal fight, which took place over the next seven months, was challenging. All of the other parties in the case, except one, agreed to a settlement that would have raised residential rates by 9 percent.

I refused.

In the public hearings, so many customers said that their bills were already too high.
The Office of the Attorney General listened and decided to fight, even if we had to do it alone.

I admit, this case was tough on my team, and it took faith to keep going. But, we fought back when the company argued that the PSC could not consider whether customers could actually afford their bill.

Thank you to those who made calls and comments. You made a difference, and our case could not have been possible without your voice.

Through it all, our position never waivered.

While we were required to present testimony on alternative rate amounts, the PSC’s final order acknowledges our one and only position: “The Attorney General objected to any increase on the residential customer.”

The PSC also recognized that we strongly argued that “Kentucky Power’s customers are unable to afford a rate increase,” which if granted “would set the entire economy of Eastern Kentucky back.”

As a result, on Jan. 18, the PSC issued a series of rulings.

According to the PSC, these rulings will result in a 4 percent decrease in the monthly bills for our Eastern Kentucky families.

We are busy checking the math, and I understand this is not enough.

Bills are way too high, especially the bill you just receiving for some of the coldest temperatures this winter.

But, fighting against a 16 percent increase and coming out with a 4 percent decrease is a good start.

And, as with every mission of ours, we will continue to fight for the people of Kentucky against those who want to put profits over what’s best for our people.

Crystal Staley
502-696-5659
502-545-3714

Comments  

+1 #4 AEP 2018-01-28 23:36
Is everyone taking all this in? AEP has been ripping us off for years. This proves all their pr bs was just a smoke screen for gouging us. Finally someone steps up and says 'no more'. Lawrence county's judge should be ashamed for not having our back. Thank you, Mr. Beshear.
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+4 #3 wondering 2018-01-26 16:49
Believe me, I know how corrupt this part of AEP is. I would love to meet with Mr. Beshear and give him some information.
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+4 #2 carlos 2018-01-25 21:50
Thank You Andy Beshear for fighting for the forgotten in the eastern part of our great state. You are the kind of person I like to see in our government.
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+3 #1 Congrads 2018-01-25 19:14
Great work Andy. I'm sure the Lawrence County judge executive was there with you. AEP are crooks. Lawrence County officials have laid down for them for years.
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