Electric co-ops intervene in rate hike request

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Associated Press

Posted on February 2, 2013 at 11:01 AM

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) — Three western Kentucky electric cooperatives have intervened in a request by a regional utility to significantly increase rates.

The Messenger-Inquirer (http://bit.ly/UJKIO4) reports Jackson Purchase Energy Corp., Kenergy Corp. and Meade County Rural Electric Cooperative filed the paperwork Wednesday with the Public Service Commission.

They say a proposed increase by Big Rivers Electric Corporation would increase rates for a typical customer by about $24 each month..

"Our board of directors feels strongly that JPEC, through its management and legal team, needs a seat at the table in the rate case to protect the interest of our member-owners, and we will fight to keep the impact on our members to a minimum," said Gary Joiner, JPEC board chairman, in a statement.

Henderson-based Big Rivers has said the increase is needed due to the impending loss of its largest customer, Century Aluminum in Hancock County.

Big Rivers supplies wholesale power for the three co-ops, which serve about 112,000 customers in 22 counties.

PSC spokesman Andrew Melnykovych says it is not unusual for cooperatives to intervene in rate requests that affect them, and he said the Attorney General's Office intervenes commonly on behalf of ratepayers.

He said the unusual aspect is the reason Big Rivers asked for the rate increase.

Century gave notice last year that it would not renew its contract for electric service after a rate dispute with the utility.

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Information from: Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, http://www.messenger-inquirer.com

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