East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC), which generates and transmits wholesale electricity to South Kentucky RECC, is seeking to raise the base rates it charges South Kentucky RECC and 15 other Kentucky electric co-ops.
EKPC filed its application with the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC). If approved by the PSC, the proposal by EKPC will increase South Kentucky RECC’s rates and add about $3.99 or 3.76 percent to the monthly bill of the average residential member.
The proposed rate increase is from EKPC, not South Kentucky RECC, and any additional revenue from this rate increase will go to EKPC, not South Kentucky RECC.
EKPC needs a base rate increase to ensure there are sufficient margins to maintain financial strength and reliable service. If approved, it will mark EKPC’s first increase in base rates since 2011.
EKPC filed the rate-adjustment request on April 1. Therefore, South Kentucky RECC also filed an application with the PSC detailing how the adjustment would be passed through its monthly bills to the membership.
As a not-for-profit, member-owned organization, EKPC strives to keep rates steady by containing and reducing operating costs. One of the most effective ways EKPC has done that is by obtaining low-cost energy through PJM, a major regional energy marketplace. As a result of the efforts by South Kentucky RECC and EKPC to keep energy economical, the rates of South Kentucky RECC are competitive with neighboring utilities.
“We’ve worked hard over the past decade with our power supplier to manage costs and improve our cost-competitiveness with other electric utilities in Kentucky,” said Ken Simmons, president and CEO of South Kentucky RECC. “This has been accomplished despite the fact that South Kentucky RECC serves rural areas with an average of less than 10 members per mile of electric line, while Kentucky’s investor-owned utilities serve 25 customers per mile and municipal electric utilities serve 60 customers per mile.”
Together, South Kentucky RECC, EKPC and 15 other electric cooperatives are known as Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. The cooperatives work together to promote economic development and bring jobs and investment to the communities they serve. Since 2015, the co-ops have been involved in economic development projects that promise to bring nearly 15,000 new jobs and over $6 billion in new investment to those communities.
In the past year, EKPC and its owner-member cooperatives launched a sustainability initiative to ensure the delivery of reliable, affordable and sustainable energy far into the future. As part of that effort, EKPC has set targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and increase renewables, and is working with its owner-member co-ops to develop strategies to meet evolving member expectations.