Kentucky AG calls on quick approve in Public Service Commission case
By Kyle Hinton| January 29, 2018 at 9:50 PM CST - Updated August 15 at 4:01 PM
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is calling on Kentucky's Public Service Commission (PSC) to quickly approve a settlement between his office and two utilities companies that will directly return millions of dollars to Kentuckians.
The settlement was filed by Kentucky Utilities Company (KU) and Louisville Gas and Electric Company (LG&E). The settlement would allow the companies to return $176.8 million in savings from recent federal tax reform to its customers over a 13-month period. The actual amount of savings would be for a 16-month period (Jan. 1, 2018, until April 30, 2019).
“My office has worked on this agreement with the utilities to ensure that their savings from a lower corporate tax rate is immediately returned to each ratepayer,” Beshear said. “If the PSC acts quickly to protect Kentuckians, each family will see a line of credit for their energy consumption on April’s KU or LG&E utility bill.”
Federal tax reform reduced the corporate income tax rate for utility companies from 35 percent to 21 percent. Kentuckians pay utility taxes at state and federal level.
On Jan. 11, Beshear and a bipartisan coalition of 18 state attorneys general, state agencies and consumer advocates called for Kentuckians, not public utilities, to receive the benefits of the recently reduced federal corporate tax rate.
At the state level, the PSC issued an order to public utilities in Kentucky asking them to begin tracking their savings under the lower corporate tax rate.
Beshear said his office would intervene in all upcoming state utilities case like the KU and LG&E settlement case to ensure customer receive the full economic benefit of the tax reduction.
Beshear's Office of Rate intervention serves as a watchdog for consumers of health insurance, natural gas, water, sewer, electric and telephone rates. Under Kentucky law, the office is responsible for representing the interests of Kentucky consumers before governmental rate-making agencies, concentrating on utility cases before PSC.
On Jan. 8, Beshear's office recommended that the PSC reduce the current rate Duke Energy could charge its Kentucky customers by $16 million.
Beshear's intervention in the AEP/Kentucky Power case helped decrease monthly bills by 4 percent when the company aimed for a 16 percent increase.
In 2017, Beshear announced that his Office of Rate Intervention entered into a settlement with LG&E and KU that will save Kentuckians $90 million annually. $33.2 million of that is residential customers.
Beshear’s office saved families over $96 million in increases to their utility bills in 2017.