First bill prefiled for 2019 General Assembly Session

05/30/2018 03:06 PM

PIKEVILLE- The first bill of the 2019 legislative session was filed Wednesday by Rep. Chris Harris, D-Forrest Hills.

BR 28 seeks to add stronger protections for utility customers in preventing increased utility rates. The bill would also give the Public Service Commission (PSC) broader authority to hold utility companies more accountable when considering to increase rates on customers. The legislation is similar to a bill filed in the 2018 session that died in committee.

“Despite the fact that numerous representatives are in this area, it did not even get a committee hearing,” said Attorney General Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky. “While many Kentuckians were struggling to pay and have their homes heated this winter, some of our elected legislators failed to act.”

The bill does several things. First, it mandates the PSC consider whether proposed or current rates are affordable for customers. Second, it simplifies bills by reducing the number and amount of charges recovered through line items and customer charges. Third, it allows the PCS to take into account whether the utility company has provided good or bad service when asking for a rate increase. Finally, it provides stronger oversight by requiring periodic management and operation audits of utility companies.

These protections are meant to prevent increasingly high utility bills for families throughout the state, especially in Eastern Kentucky where families have seen bills climb in the hundreds.

“We are not the type of people who will just accept that these will be our power rates, that this will be how we have to live,” said Rep. Angie Hatton, D-Whitesburg. “I have had numerous of emails and calls from my constituents who are having trouble making decisions about whether to keep their house warm, or food on the table.”

“With this legislation we’re changing the rules to help consumers and reign in the utilities,” Rep. Harris said. “Protecting the public, not profits for the utilities, must be our primary focus going forward.”

The 2018 legislation can be found here.

Watch the press conference announcing the legislation:

Michon Lindstrom

Michon is a producer for Pure Politics. Michon comes to Kentucky from Springfield, Illinois where she served as the statehouse reporter for the NBC affiliate. During her time in the Land of Lincoln she covered the state’s two year budget impasse and the largest school funding overall in Illinois history. Pure Politics airs weeknights at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Michon on Twitter at @MichonLindstrom or reach her by email at michon.lindstrom@charter.com

1 Comments

Comments

  • AllPainNoGain wrote on May 31, 2018 07:58 AM :

    So, no opportunity to comment on the Derrick Ramsey story? Note this is just one more example of Bevin having to shuffle his people around from position to position because no one who doesn’t already work for him is interested at this point. Another nail in the coffin of his reelection plans.

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