Power struggle emerging over power

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The Magoffin County Fiscal Court is joining with local citizens to voice opposition to an American Electric Power/Kentucky Power proposed rate increase.

The Magoffin County Fiscal Court is joining with local citizens to voice opposition to an American Electric Power/Kentucky Power proposed rate increase.
During a special meeting Thursday afternoon, fiscal court members instructed Magoffin County Attorney Greg Allen to review AEP’s proposal, and pursue any legal options the court may have to oppose it.

In December, AEP applied to the Kentucky Public Service Commission for a 34.5 percent rate increase, which company spokesman Ronn Robinson said would create a typical customer bill increase of about $40 per month.
But judge-executive Charles Hardin, MD is anticipating a much larger per month increase, and says local customers cannot afford the added financial burden.
A letter to the public service commission, which was drafted by Allen and signed by Hardin, seeks permission for the judge-executive to speak during a PSC hearing scheduled for May 25 regarding the proposed increase.

The letter says in part, “most of the families that reside in this county are on fixed incomes and are struggling to economically survive with the basics of living. If the commission approves AEP/Kentucky Power’s rate adjustment increase this would merely add a cruel and undue hardship upon the people of this county and upon the other consumers served by this electric power company.”

The letter also points out that Magoffin County has the state’s highest unemployment rate in the state and adds that “no Magoffin County senior citizen or handicapped individual should be forced to make a decision in whether to pay an electric power bill to keep them warm on cold days or to purchase food or medicine.”
AEP’s Robinson, though, does not see the requested rate increase creating those types of hardships, and says that the company’s increased operating costs have led to a needed increase in rates.
“The last base increase we had was in 2006, and operating costs have dramatically increased since then,” he said. “Just like any company does, we have to increase our prices to offset those increases in operating costs.”
AEP/Kentucky Power serves about 3,000 customers in and around Salyersville. The company is also seeking a 21.34 percent increase on commercial electricity and a 14.21 percent industrial increase.
The PSC can either approve the increase as requested, approve a lesser increase, or deny an increase all together.
The May 25 public service commission hearing is open to the public, but permission to speak during the hearing must be obtained from the PSC prior to the hearing date.