Harris, Hatton propose utility customer protections

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Two mountain lawmakers are getting support from Kentucky’s top prosecutor in seeking additional customer protections from utilities.

During a press conference this afternoon, Attorney General Andy Beshear threw his support behind proposals by Reps. Chris Harris and Angie Hatton, who are filing a bill to alter the way the Public Service Commission handles rate-hike requests.

The measure would require the PSC to consider affordability of proposed rates to customers, as well as whether the utility is providing good or bad service. The proposal would also eliminate many surcharges and force utilities to undergo audits every five years.

Harris and Hatton expected to file the bill today.

Following the press conference, Kentucky Power President Matthew Satterwhite offered a rebuttal.

“As a regulated utility, our  rates are already limited to only allow us to recover our reasonable costs and earn a return that enables infrastructure improvements to provide safe and reliable service to our customers,” Satterwhite said. “The real solution to address rates is to bring in industry and jobs, and that is why we are leading the focus on an economic revival in the region and invite others to join us.”