Kentucky’s Public Service Commission is evaluating the state’s two largest utilities’ long-term plans for energy investment, infrastructure and supply and demand.
Friday is the deadline to submit public comments on Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities’ Integrated Resource Plan. The plan includes relying on fossil fuels for nearly 80% of the power supply through 2036.
Director of Apogee, Climate & Energy Transitions Andy McDonald said he believes it’s risky for Kentucky ratepayers to continue to be so heavily reliant on coal and natural gas.
He said the utilities should be investing in mitigating carbon emissions by shifting to renewable energy sources. He called the IRP “a check and balance” on energy providers.
“And so, without the IRP process, without the Public Service Commission, the utility would function just like any other corporation,” said McDonald. “They would be looking to maximize their profits. And their customers don’t have any alternative power suppliers.”
Cathy Hinko is the former executive director of the Metropolitan Housing Coalition in Louisville. She said residents should check to make sure they include all the necessary information in their email to the PSC.
“So you need the case number, your name, and your address,” said Hinko. “And you have to do it before April 15. And then it becomes part of the record of the case in the IRP.”
Chris Woolery — residential energy coordinator with the Mountain Association — said Kentucky lacks transparency and tracking for utilities on data such as fees, disconnections and reconnect charges, and what ZIP codes are most impacted.
“Often the answer from the companies is ‘we don’t know, we don’t look at the data on the Census-track level, we haven’t studied that question,'” said Woolery. “And so we need mechanisms that are requiring certain things to be submitted.”
Woolery said the state still is grappling with the effects of the pandemic, so many folks still owe money to utilities. One Associated Press analysis published last month found Kentucky is among a handful of states that charge customers late fees much higher than the national average.
This article was originally published by the Public News Service.