Ky. AG announces reduction to energy rates for some customers‏

Nick Rees Dec. 7, 2009, 2:59pm

Jack Conway

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Legal Newsline) - Attorney General Jack Conway has announced that a preliminary settlement agreement will reduce a Duke Energy Kentucky Inc. rate request by more than 25 percent.

Duke, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., serves approximately 95,000 natural gas customers in seven counties in the Northern Kentucky area. The

The preliminary settlement limits Duke to a general rate increase of $14 million - $4.49 million less than its original rate increase request of $17.49 million. A provision is also include in the settlement to halt Duke from requesting another rate increase from the Public Service Commission during the next 18 months.

"Under this agreement, Duke's customers will experience a much smaller increase in their monthly natural gas bills," Conway said. "I will continue to closely examine all proposed utility rate increases to protect consumers."

Duke has also agreed to withdraw its request for a rate mechanism that would have dramatically increased its monthly customer charges no matter how much natural gas customers used. Duke had requested an increase for its monthly charge from $12 to $30 before adding in the cost of delivering natural gas.

"Ratepayers should be rewarded for their efforts to conserve energy through a corresponding reduction in their bills," Conway said. "Allowing a utility to reduce its delivery charge and put most of its costs into the fixed monthly customer charge would virtually guarantee the company's profit, while creating a disincentive for customers who want to conserve and lower their bills."

A public hearing on the settlement, which must still be approved by the Public Service Commission, will be held Dec. 15.

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