Commercial customers of Kentucky Power, which serves a 20-county territory in the eastern area of the state, have a lot riding on a matter before the Kentucky Public Service Commission.
The PSC said last week that it will review whether a demand side management (DSM) program that is in effect still is in the best interest of its168,000 commercial and residential customers.
DSM programs reduce costs by implementing energy efficiency programs. These programs also reduce costs by obviating the need for new plants. In Kentucky Power’s region, however, the poverty rate and percentage of fixed income households is above the state and national averages. Declines in the number of customers and the amount electricity used are expected during the next 15 years.
State laws permit utilities to recoup the cost of DSM programs through a surcharge. That charge, the story says, has increased from 51 cents to $10.61 during the past year. Much of the increase is due to Kentucky Power’s participation in a group that acquired the Mitchell Generating Station in West Virginia.
The agreement includes provisions that Kentucky Power will increase DSM spending through next year. The PSC order takes a look at whether those increases and the surcharges to subscribers are necessary in light of reduced demand.
Kentucky.com reports that the business interests in the state have been surprisingly caution about utility-sponsored net-metering legislation that would make slow solar investments. The proposed legislation – Senate Bill 214 – was called “job-killing” and “anti-free market” – by other business interests.