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Duke Energy to Seek Rate Increase

Northern Kentucky customers of Duke Energy may soon see an increase in the amount they pay to the utility each month.

Duke is seeking approval from the Kentucky Public Service Commission for a base rate increase. The company stated that it would be its first such increase in more than a decade, and cited its efforts to build "a smarter energy future for its customers" as the reason. The increase in price is driven by the increase in system investments, new solar facilities, smart meters, and coal ash management at East Bend Station, Duke said.

Duke has 140,000 electric customers in Kentucky and serves all or parts of Boone, Campbell, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton, and Pendleton Counties in Northern Kentucky.

The request was filed with the KYPSC to increase revenues by about $49 million, for an average rate increase across all customer groups of 15 percent.

“Customers have told us they want more control over their energy usage, their utility bill and tools to help them make smart energy choices to keep energy costs as low as possible,” said Jim Henning, president, Duke Energy Kentucky. “We continue to make the investments needed to build that smart energy future for our customers.”

If approved by the KYPSC, beginning April 1, 2018, electric rates will increase about 17.4 percent for residential customers. Commercial and industrial customers will see an average increase of around 13.7 percent (actual impacts vary by customer size and rate group).

The charge for a typical residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity monthly would increase $15.17 from $88.60 to $103.77. The average monthly bill for a residential customer will be $29 less than the national average.

Duke says it is improving the customer experience

Duke Energy is installing advanced metering technology (smart meters) to enable what it calls bill-lowering tools, access to more information about energy use, and the ability to receive usage alerts, outage notifications, and customized billing options once fully implemented.

The company is also investing $14.8 million in three solar sites in Walton and Crittenden.

Duke Energy also spent $12.4 million to purchase the remaining 31 percent jointly owned generating assets at East Bend Station from Dayton Power and Light in 2014. The purchase will provide long-term capacity for Duke Energy Kentucky customers.

“We know the energy bill is a sizable monthly expense for many customers,” Henning said. “That’s why we provide programs and tools to help keep their energy costs low.”

The PSC will issue a procedural schedule that will provide opportunities for parties to participate. The PSC will then take into account any testimony from other parties and schedule a hearing in Frankfort. The company expects this process to be complete by the end of March 2018.

People can review the testimony filed in support of the company’s request at the PSC website (search using Case No. 2017-00321):psc.ky.gov/.

For more details on the company’s request to increase rates, visit duke-energy.com/KyRates.

-Staff report

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