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Mountain lawmakers react to Public Service Commission approving Kentucky Power sale

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: May. 5, 2022 at 2:19 PM EDT
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PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - The Kentucky Public Service Commission approved the sale of Kentucky Power on Wednesday. Members of the Mountain Caucus told WYMT they worked hard to get a better deal on the sale for Eastern Kentuckians.

Representative Angie Hatton (D) of Whitesburg said Liberty Utilities paid more than $580 million more than what AEP is worth.

”We were asking that 90% of that be returned to their customers, what we got was between $113 million and $158 million, and that’s not nothing,” she said.

It is a nearly $3 billion sale. The Public Service Commission stated Liberty would also take on more than $1 billion in debt.

”We’re also concerned about why anyone would bid that much more, for a company here, where the poorest people in the world are paying these rates,” she added.

There are some conditions to the sale. Hatton said AEP was ordered to pay $40 million in fuel adjustments to customers, along with paying them back for subsidizing other affiliates at the expense of Kentuckians.

”Our biggest concern is the way AEP has treated us all these years, overcharging their customers and underinvesting in the region,” Hatton said.

Failure to address the subsidizing issue will result in an additional $45 million payment to Kentucky Power customers.

Co-chair of the Mountain Caucus, Senator Brandon Smith (R) of Hazard said there are some wins to the approval.

”The arrow shifted in favor of the ratepayer and that’s a win,” he said. we don’t have the power to stop and block the sale, and that was never the intent.”

”This deal going forward will help make the rates, I feel, more stable,” he added. “It will take away the fluctuations, I think it’s going to make it more affordable.”

Attorney General Daniel Cameron released a statement on the sale.

“Our office went before the PSC to ensure Eastern Kentucky electric utility ratepayers benefitted from Liberty’s acquisition of Kentucky Power from AEP, and we are pleased that our efforts resulted in over $143 million in benefits for Kentucky ratepayers.

“We know rising utility bills have strained the budgets of many Kentuckians, and we appreciate that the PSC adopted modifications to create savings for Kentucky ratepayers before authorizing the sale of Kentucky Power.”

Attorney General Daniel Cameron

You can read AEP’s response here.

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