PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — A western Kentucky electric utility is telling customers their rates will increase by more than 20 percent after its power supplier lost its biggest customer, an aluminum smelter.
Jackson Purchase Energy Corp. is telling ratepayers their electric bills will increase by an average of about $22 a month. The higher rates begin Tuesday. The utility's power supplier, Big Rivers Electric Corp, recently lost the Century Aluminum smelter in Hawesville as a customer. Big Rivers is requesting a $68.6 million rate increase to cover the losses.
"No one likes to see our members have to pay more for electricity," Jackson Purchase Energy chief executive Kelly Nuckols said in a statement. "Especially in a situation like this when it is totally beyond our control."
Nuckols said the utility is attempting to recruit new industrial customers.
The utility told residents that an average customer using about 1,255 kilowatt hours of electricity per month would pay about $128, up from $106 per month under current rates.
Century Aluminum had warned of a shutdown of the plant if it could not change its electric supplier.
The smelter, along with another aluminum smelter in Sebree, consumed more than two-thirds of the electricity generated by Big Rivers.
Jackson Purchase Energy serves about 30,000 customers in six counties.