In November 2014, Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities filed cases before the state Public Service Commission, seeking to increase sharply the basic service charge that customers pay to have service at their home. LG&E electric customers would have paid an additional $87 per year (a 67% increase) and LG&E gas customers would have paid an additional $66 per year (a 40.7% increase) simply to be connected to the LG&E system. The increase in service charges would reduce the impact of energy efficiency investments and would adversely impact low- and fixed-income customers. Metropolitan Housing Coalition intervened in the case in order to oppose the increase in basic service charge, and to seek an increase in assistance to LG&Es most vulnerable customers.
In a unanimous settlement agreement submitted to the Commission for approval on April 21, 2015, LG&E agreed to no increase in the basic service charges, which will remain at $10.75 per month for electric and $13.50 per month for gas service. Additionally, LG&E shareholder contribution to low-income energy assistance will increase from $1 million each year to $1.15 million. Under the agreement, the return on LG&E investments in environmental compliance expenditures will be reduced to 10%, so that LG&E customers will see savings on future cost recovery by LG&E. The Home Energy Assistance Program would also be made a permanent program, and the residential meter charge funding that program would remain at $.25 per meter per month.
MHC was represented pro bono by the Kentucky Resources Council?s Tom FitzGerald. MHC appreciates the efforts of the Association of Community Ministries, Sierra Club, Community Action Council, and the office of Attorney General Jack Conway, who worked together with MHC to achieve a settlement that is very positive for low- and fixed-income customers, and for energy efficiency and distributed renewable energy investments. Thank you to MHC members and allies for your letters to the Commission. Your voices were heard loud and clear!