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January 18, 2018

LETTER TO PSC:

State Rep. Jill York and some of her GOP colleagues wrote a direct letter to the Public Service Commission asking for quick action on Ky. Power passing the Trump tax savings on to its consumers.State Rep. Jill York and some of her GOP colleagues wrote a direct letter to the Public Service Commission asking for quick action on Ky. Power passing the Trump tax savings on to its consumers.

January 17, 2018

Michael Schmitt, Chairman

Robert Cicero, Vice Chairman

Talina Matthews, Commissioner

Kentucky Public Service Commission

211 Sower Blvd.

Frankfort, KY 40602-0615

SUBJECT: Request expedited review of Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as applied to Kentucky Power can offer rate reductions to power customers

Dear Chairman Schmitt, Vice Chairman Cicero and Commissioner Matthews:

On behalf of our constituents in eastern Kentucky, we write this letter to urge you to take prompt action to resolve the review of Kentucky Power’s corporate taxes to reflect the recent reduction in the federal corporate income tax rate.

Our residents in eastern Kentucky are relying on you to adjust the company’s revenue requirements to reflect this federal corporate income tax reduction so that the utility may use the savings to lower rates for Kentucky Power’s customers.

On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law. This law significantly cuts corporate taxes for utilities, including Kentucky Power, by reducing the federal corporate income tax rate from 35 to 21 percent.

As an investor-owned utility regulated by the Kentucky Public Service Commission, Kentucky Power is authorized to charge rates set by you and recover its operating costs from its customers. Federal income taxes is one such cost.

We believe a rapid decision from the commission on this matter is prudent as the winter months in eastern Kentucky are a particularly critical time for many residents. Reductions to the utilities’ Federal income taxes will allow the company to lower power rates and ease the financial strain on customers in Appalachia.

We urge you to please take the necessary steps for expeditious action to pass the benefits of the corporate tax cut onto eastern Kentucky families and businesses as soon as possible. They deserve fair and reasonable electric rates from the federal tax savings realized from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Respectfully,

Rep. Jill York, Rep. Chris Fugate,Rep. Tim Couch, Rep. Larry Brown, Rep. David Hale, Rep. Dan Bentley, Rep. John Blanton,   Rep. William S. Wells, Rep. Toby Herald

 

 

January 11, 2018

MurrayPresident Trump has been famously friendly to the coal industry in his first year of office, and a confidential memo suggests coal magnate Robert Murray may be responsible.

Robert Murphy, the nation's largest coal operator.Robert Murphy, the nation's largest coal operator.Murray, who supported Trump's campaign donated $300,000 to the inauguration, owns the country's largest coal company, Murray Energy. He sent the memo soon after the inauguration; it included a detailed list of 14 policy actions that would benefit him. Almost a year later, almost have been completed or are on track to be completed.

"The March 1 memo, which was obtained by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and shared with The New York Times, is addressed to Vice President Mike Pence. The sweeping wish list of regulatory overhauls includes ending regulations on greenhouse gas emissions and ozone and mine safety, as well as cutting the staff of the Environmental Protection Agency 'at least in half' and overhauling the Labor Department’s office of mine safety," Lisa Friedman reports for the Times. Murray sent a similar memo to Secretary of Energy Rick Perry on March 23.

Murray wrote in the memo to Pence that his wish list is geared toward "getting America's coal miners back to work." It included requests to cut funding for carbon capture and sequestration technology and eliminate a 2009 EPA ruling that was the legal basis for most of President Obama's climate change policy.

In a recent interview with the Times, Murray said that the memo outlined measures that would help provide "reliable, low-cost electricity in America" and praised the Trump administration for "being bold, being passionate and being correct in addressing a lot of these issues that were on my list here."

Friedman reports, "The Trump administration has had an unusually close relationship with Mr. Murray. He and 10 of his miners were invited to watch the president sign an executive order to rollback President Obama’s climate change regulations. He has met with Mr. Perry to discuss the needs of coal producers. His longtime attorney, Andrew Wheeler, is awaiting Senate confirmation to the No. 2 slot at the EPA, and David Zatezalo, the nation’s new top mine safety and health regulator and previously the president of a coal mining company, told his hometown paper that Mr. Murray had encouraged him to put his hat in the ring for the job."

Despite Murray's influence, on Jan. 8 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected Perry's proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants, which would have mostly benefitted Murray.

Written by Heather Chapman

Posted at 1/10/2018 11:34:00 AM

January 9, 2018

 Federal regulators have rejected a controversial Trump administration proposal that would have propped up slumping coal companies.Federal regulators have rejected a controversial Trump administration proposal that would have propped up slumping coal companies.

In an order Monday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s sweeping proposal to subsidize struggling coal and nuclear plants in the name of keeping power grids dependable. Instead, the commission asked grid operators to suggest their own ideas to make the system more resilient," Catherine Traywick and Ari Natter report for Bloomberg.

It's a surprising unanimous vote from an agency in which four of the five commissioners were appointed by President Trump, and three of them are Republicans. In the order, the regulators said they appreciated Perry's efforts to reinforce the resilience of the power grid and said it's "an important issue that warrants further attention."

Perry's plan proposed to raise electricity prices paid to any power plant that has a 90-day fuel supply on hand. That would benefit coal, especially coal magnate Robert Murray's plants, since natural gas and renewable energy are more expensive to store.

The natural gas industry criticized the plan, saying it would undermine competition in wholesale power markets. Natural gas now makes up the largest part of the nation's energy mix, and coal is unlikely to catch up.

FERC's order "gave regional grid operators 60 days to submit feedback on how grid resilience should be assessed, if at all, and whether the commission should take any action on the matter at this time," Bloomberg reports.

Written by Heather Chapman

Posted at 1/09/2018 12:00:00 PM