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UTILITY RULES

Please lend your voice today!

House Bill 341 would give PSC-regulated utilities monopolies the right to raise rates with limited regulatory scrutiny or public participation. 

Back in 2020, during the pandemic, investor-owned LG&E and KU filed cases with the Ky. Public Service Commission (PSC), seeking to raise and restructure their rates by as much as 20%, in regressive, anti-consumer ways that would have cost the average residential customer an extra $277/year and undermine customer-owned solar power.  But between PSC regulators and citizen intervenors, the outcome wasn't nearly as bad as it could've been.

Now, State Rep. Jim Gooch, who chairs the House Natural Resources & Energy Committee, has filed a bill that would have the following harmful effects: 

 

  • Utility monopolies could ask for a quicker rate-approval process, with less public notice and participation, including, “No evidentiary hearing ... unless requested by the utility.”

  • The ability of ratepayers to "intervene" in a rate case would be harmed by shorter notice and a faster application deadline.

  • The amount and types of utility information citizen "intervenors" could have would be limited.  Intervenors could comment only; their attorneys could no longer cross-examine utility witnesses.

  • Rate cases affecting fewer than 250,000 customers would not require a public meeting.

  • Utility profit rates would be locked indefinitely without PSC review.

Please call 1-800-372-7181 between 7am to 9pm Monday-Friday (until 6pm on holidays and Fridays).  Leave a message for "the full House Committee on Natural Resources & Energy" plus "House and Senate Leadership."  Ask them to, "Vote NO on House Bill 341," and add a sentence in your own words about why you think a "no vote" matters.

Never called Frankfort before?  Consider these tips.

We can't make this stuff up!  Read the bill and learn more here, here and here.

Background information:

  • Utilities are allowed to operate as monopolies and earn near-guaranteed profits.  In exchange, their ability to raise rates is limited, and they're subject to other regulations.  They must serve customers equitably, reliably and safely, in ways that "free-market" businesses are not.  Now, these monopolies have decided they don't want be subject to that extra regulation. 

  • Utility regulation is an expression of public policy.  Without regulation, the availability, quality and cost of service would vary greatly, based on customers' locations.  (The differences in internet and cell-phone service in urban and rural areas is huge, because neither utility is meaningfully regulated.)

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