Last updated: July 18. 2013 11:26PM - 605 Views
Herald Staff

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HAZARD – The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) will host a public meeting in Hazard next month regarding Kentucky Power Company’s proposal to retire its Big Sandy generating plant in Louisa.

The meeting will allow the public an opportunity to comment on the proposal, which would result in Kentucky Power purchasing a 50 percent interest in Ohio Power Company’s Mitchell power plant in West Virginia for approximately $536 million. The electricity generated at the plant, 780 megawatts, would nearly replace the 800 megawatts generated by the largest of two units at Kentucky Power’s plant in Louisa, according to a PSC release issued on Wednesday.

“These meetings are an opportunity for the public to learn how the PSC reaches a decision in cases such as this,” said PSC Chairman David Armstrong. “The meetings also allow the PSC to hear directly from ratepayers in these matters.”

Kentucky Power had originally opted to upgrade its Big Sandy plant, which burns coal to generate electricity, to comply with stricter federal guidelines regulating air quality. That upgrade, the company said, would have brought a cost of nearly $1 billion, and last year the company opted to instead retire its Big Sandy plant completely by 2015. A smaller generating unit in Louisa producing 278 megawatts will be retired in 2014.

The Mitchell plant also burns coal, though the PSC says the newer plant in West Virginia already has the equipment needed to comply with federal regulations.

Kentucky Power estimates its proposed purchase of a 50 percent stake in the Mitchell plant will result in an 8 percent increase in rates, or approximately $6 per month for an average customer.

The PSC’s meeting in Hazard will be held on Wednesday, May 15 at 5 p.m. at Hazard Community and Technical College’s First Federal Center. Other public meetings on the proposal will be held in Louisa on May 14, and in Whitesburg on May 15, also at 5 p.m., at Southeast Community and Technical College.

The PSC will also conduct a formal evidentiary hearing in the case at 10 a.m. on May 29 at the PSC offices in Frankfort. It also will be open to the public.

Written comments will be accepted through the conclusion of the evidentiary hearing. They may be mailed to the PSC at P.O. Box 615, Frankfort, KY 40602, faxed to 502-564-9625, e-mailed from the PSC website or submitted in person at the public meetings or at the PSC offices.

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