The Big Rivers Electric Corp. will be forced to raise rates again for its 113,000 customers, as a second western Kentucky aluminum smelter has reached an agreement to purchase its electricity on the free market.
A western Kentucky electric utility is telling customers their rates will increase by more than 20 percent after its power supplier lost its biggest customer, an aluminum smelter.
Jackson Purchase Energy Corp. is telling rate-payers their electric bills will increase by an average of about $22 a month. The higher rates begin Tuesday. The utility's power supplier, Big Rivers Electric Corp, recently lost the Century Aluminum smelter in Hawesville as a customer. Big Rivers is requesting a $68.6 million rate increase to cover the losses.
The Kentucky Public Service Commission videoconference call in Paducah over the proposed twenty percent rate increase for Big Rivers Electric Corp. has been rescheduled.
The call, which would have coincided with similar meetings in Henderson and Owensboro, was slated for Thursday. To avoid conflict with a Jackson Purchase Energy meeting, the Paducah session will be held June 18 instead.
A coalition of western Kentucky businesses and residents has formed in hopes of minimizing the fallout of an electricity rates deal between Big Rivers Electric Co-Op and western Kentucky aluminum smelters.
Nearly 700 employees at an aluminum smelter in Hawesville may lose their jobs because the power costs to operate the plant are too high. Century Aluminum Company says it gave a 12-month notice Monday to terminate its power contract with Big Rivers Electric Corp.
The Kentucky Public Service Commission will hold public meetings this month looking for comment on a new environmental compliance plan by Big Rivers Electric Corporation. Big Rivers is seeking PSC authorization to spend over $283 million to comply with new federal environmental requirements. Spokesman Marty Littrel said these investment costs will trickle down to the customer in coming years. Big Rivers provides wholesale power to its owners, Jackson Purchase Energy, Kenergy, and Meade County Rural Electric corporations.
The Kentucky Public Service Commission will hold public hearings next month in Paducah and Henderson to get input on a proposal raising rates for Big Rivers Electric Corporation customers. Big Rivers wants to spend about $284 million to comply with new federal environmental requirements affecting utilities that burn coal to generate electricity.