Paducah Power System Board May Have "Unintentionally" Violated Open Meetings Law

Sep 12, 2014

Credit Paducah Power System

The Paducah Power Board of Directors may have violated the Kentucky Open Meetings Law as the energy provider seeks ways to increase revenue. The publicly owned company provides power to more than 22,000 customers and is subject to  open meetings law requirements.

However, on Tuesday four of the five board members participated in a conference call with a portfolio management company with whom the Kentucky Municipal Power Agency is considering a contract.

Andrea Underwood, PPS Director of Community Relations, said the company would be responsible for providing services to PPS such as dispatching its natural gas-powered peaking plant to maximize the revenue from the facility.

PPS gets the bulk of its power from Prairie State Energy Campus in Illinois, of which it is a part owner. However, the plant is failing to produce enough energy for all customers, requiring PPS to buy energy from the open market. That energy comes at a premium and is being passed on to customers in the form of a power cost adjustment (PCA).  Maximizing the output of the peaking plant may ease some of the high added costs to customers.

Underwood said in an email that the board took no action, nor were there motions or votes during the conference call. She said no public notice was provided. State law requires notice of public board meetings.   David Clark, PPS General Manager felt the call was informational and did not fall within the Open Meetings Act.

Underwood said if there was a violation, it was unintentional.

Here is what the Open Meetings Law states, in part:

  • The Open Meetings Act applies to meetings of a quorum of the members of a public agency at which public business is discussed or action is taken; a discussion of public business by a quorum of the agency’s members triggers the requirements of the Act even if no action is taken.

Underwood says the minutes for the next PPS board meeting will reflect that a conference call did occur.