Public Utilities | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Public Utilities

House Bill Number: 

House Bill 16 would establish pro-consumer provisions to limit fixed costs charged by utilities; these fixed costs hurt low-income ratepayers and disincentivize energy efficiency, reduced energy usage, and rooftop solar. The bill would also require the PSC to take into account if proposed rate changes are "affordable" to Kentuckians when deciding on utility rate cases, and would mandate a periodic management audit of all monopoly utilities, excluding rural electric cooperatives.

Although House leaders would not allow a hearing or vote on HB 16, Rep. Hatton introduced a House floor amendment to Senate Bill 256 (another bill dealing with the PSC) to "allow the Public Service Commission to include affordability when determining whether a utility rate is fair, just and reasonable; require the commission to balance utility, investor, and ratepayer interests in setting rates." This amendment was debated and defeated on the House floor on March 13 (see how House members voted).

Bill Sponsor(s): 
Reps. Chris Harris, Angie Hatton & others

When dealing with utilities, the Public Service Commission (PSC) is required to determine that the utility's rates are "fair and reasonable," and the PSC does that by looking at all of the utility's expenses and then setting a rate that guarantees utilities a 12% profit.

There is no provision in the law for the PSC to take into account whether customers in the service territory can afford that rate. This law would add setting "rates that include affordability and balancing of interests of various parties affected by the rate" to their mandate. This bill sets a method for determining what the fixed rate should be.

HB 16 was assigned to the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee. House leaders did not allow the bill to be brought up for a hearing or a vote.

KFTC's Position: 
KFTC Supports