LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Today, AARP Kentucky filed comments with the Public Service Commission (PSC) in Frankfort urging Commissioners to reject the 19 percent rate hike requested by Big Rivers Electric Corporation. The $74 million dollar rate increase would cost the average monthly residential subscriber about $22 dollars more a month for an annual increase of an estimated $264.
AARP Kentucky believes that this proposed increase in electric rates will negatively impact all electric utility customers, but especially residential electric customers, including those on fixed and limited incomes. According to AARP Kentucky State Director Ron Bridges, “Too often, low-income older people must choose between risking their health and nutrition by cutting back on energy expenditures and reducing spending for other basic necessities. We need to ensure that older consumers are not caught between paying their next electric bill and taking their needed medications every day or take a hit on their food budget.”
AARP joined in the opposition to the increase with the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office of Rate Intervention. Specifically, AARP agrees with the Attorney General’s filing that the rate increases proposed for residential consumers are not fair, just or reasonable since they include Big Rivers’ proposal to make their remaining customers responsible for paying the costs of another customer, Century, leaving the system.
According to the Attorney General’s calculations, Big Rivers has a revenue surplus and, therefore, the Commission should not approve any rate increase. Further, AARP agrees that it’s contrary to the best interest of their customers, Big Rivers awarded significant pay increases of about $4.4 million to Officers and employees (with individual pay increases reaching 70%), placing a priority on its own pay increases as it continued to defer necessary maintenance.
“Utility companies should only be able to charge what is fair and reasonable, but not a penny more. That’s why AARP is fighting to stop utility companies from getting unfair utility bill increases so consumers can keep more of the money they’ve earned,” said State President Jim Kimbrough.