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Electric rate increase approved

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Typical home can expect monthly electrical bill jump of $7.31

By The Staff

The Kentucky Public Service Commission granted revenue adjustments Friday that increase the base electric rates for customers of Kentucky Utilities Co. and the base electric and natural gas rates for customers of Louisville Gas and Electric Co.

With Friday’s changes, a typical KU residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours per month (a kilowatt-hour is the amount of electricity used by a 100-watt light bulb in 10 hours) will see a $7.31 increase in the monthly bill.

The bill for an LG&E residential electric customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month will increase by $7.04. The base rates for an LG&E residential natural gas customer using 10,000 cubic feet per month will increase by $4.05.

The rate changes are to base rates only. They do not include bill components that fluctuate on a regular basis, such as fuel cost adjustments and environmental costs on electric bills and the cost of natural gas itself. Nor do they include surcharges or credits related to energy conservation and assistance programs for low-income customers.

LG&E and KU filed for rate increases in January. KU, which provides only electric service, sought a base revenue increase of $135.2 million. The stipulation calls for an increase of $98 million. LG&E asked to increase electric base revenue by $95 million and natural gas base revenue by $22.6 million. It agreed to increases of $74 million in electric revenue and $17 million in revenue from gas operations.

The electric revenue increases included recovery of the costs incurred by the two utilities to repair damage after the September 2008 wind storm and January 2009 ice storm.

A public hearing on the proposed rates and partial settlements was held June 8. The PSC held meetings to take public comment in Harlan, Lexington, Madisonville and Louisville.

The PSC found that the rates in the stipulations are fair, just and reasonable. The last rate adjustment for KU and LG&E came in February 2009. Electric rates remained essentially unchanged. The monthly base gas rate for LG&E residential customers increased by about $7.