Louisville officials plan intervention in LG&E's request for 8.5 - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville officials plan intervention in LG&E's request for 8.5 percent rate hike

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Gas & Electric is asking the Public Service Commission to allow a rate increase, but the city of Louisville announced Friday afternoon that it is planning to intervene in the case.

According to a news release from Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's office, the city is demanding to have a role in the negotiations on the proposed 8.5 percent rate hike.

"It's important for Metro Government to be part of the discussion on a decision that will impact every household in our city," Mayor Fischer said. "This will allow us the ability to advocate for the citizens of Louisville while better understanding the needs of LG&E."

Metro Louisville has an annual $17 million LG&E expense, making the city the one of the utility provider's largest clients, providing and paying for the most extensive street light and traffic light infrastructure of any city in Kentucky. Mayor Fischer's office says the proposed 8.5 percent rate hike, "would affect all local residents, and could potentially reduce the number of local families served by Louisville Metro's low-income heating assistance program."

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell will represent Louisville, and will also engage an outside law firm.

"Louisville Metro has a special interest in this case that cannot be represented by any other party," O'Connell said. "It is important that the concerns of Louisville be heard. We will present issues and develop facts that will assist the Public Service Commission in fully considering this issue."

Chris Whelan, Vice President of Corporate Communications for LG&E and KU, responded to the city’s announcement.

“It doesn’t come as a surprise," Whelan said. "The City of Lexington has done this in the past. Our major industrial customers are usually a party to the case as is the Attorney General and our low-income advocates."

She says rate changes are needed to fund equipment upgrades.

“Installing some automation, distribution automation, which will allow us to restore service to our customers faster, and it will also reduce the amount of time customers are without service,” Whelan said. 

Louisville is expected to formally file its motion to intervene with the PSC later this month. The PSC, in turn, will then decide whether or not to grant the city's request.

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