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Public Meeting Set for NKY Water, Duke Energy Rates

Duke Energy is seeking an increase to its rates for delivery of natural gas and the Northern Kentucky Water District wants a general rate increase.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) will host a public meeting about the cases on Thursday, Jan. 24 at Dixie Heights High School (3010 Dixie Highway, Edgewood) at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will take place in the school's auditorium.

The public will be permitted to weigh in on the topics after a presentation by PSC staff

Public comments also will be taken at the beginning of the PSC’s formal evidentiary hearings in the two cases. The Duke Kentucky hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Feb. 5, and the NKWD hearing is set for 9 a.m. on Feb. 27. Both will be at the PSC offices in Frankfort.

“This meeting is an opportunity for affected ratepayers to make their views known directly to the commission,” PSC Chairman Michael Schmitt said. “The PSC encourages ratepayers to attend the information session to gain a more complete understanding of how Kentucky law requires the PSC to determine fair, just and reasonable rates.”

The presentation by PSC staff and a question-and-answer period will last about an hour. Public comments will begin at about 6:30 p.m.

Duke Kentucky’s request to increase revenue from natural gas operations by about 10 percent would add about $5.78 to the typical residential customer’s average monthly bill, according to the company’s application. Duke Kentucky is proposing to increase the monthly customer charge from $16 to $17.50 and the delivery charge per 1,000 cubic feet from $3.72 to $4.87. Those increases would be partly offset by the removal of a surcharge that has funded a nearly-completed program to replace aging and potentially unsafe gas lines.

The Duke Kentucky application covers only the utility’s base rates. The commodity cost of natural gas is calculated separately every month and passed on to customers on a dollar-for-dollar basis. It is not regulated and fluctuates in response to market conditions.

Duke Kentucky’s base rates for natural gas were last adjusted in December 2009. The utility has about 103,000 natural gas customers in Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton and Pendleton counties. More than 82,000 of them also receive electric service from Duke Kentucky. 

NKWD’s most recent rate increase came in January 2016. The utility is now seeking to increase residential rates by 11 percent over two years, with the first phase of the increase coming in April 2019 and the second phase following a year later.

The increases would total about $3.84 per month for a typical residential customer, with each of the two phases coming to about $1.92 per month, according to NKWD’s application. Under the two-phase proposal, the monthly customer charge would increase from $16.40 to $17.50 initially, and then to $18.50. The remainder of the increase would come through higher charges on water consumption.

NKWD has nearly 83,000 retail customers in Kenton, Campbell, and Boone counties and sells water at wholesale to other water distribution systems in Pendleton, Boone, and Grant counties.

-Staff report

Photo: Dixie Heights High School