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Paducah Power charge stays same

BY DAVID ZOELLER dzoeller@paducahpower.com

Paducah Power System's recently lowered Power Cost Adjustment â “ the variable cost added to the base rate designed to offset the utility's cost of buying wholesale power â “ will remain in effect through September.

The PCA, and the operation of the two 800-megawatt generators of the Illinois-based Prairie State Energy Campus, which is Paducah Power's main supplier, were discussed at Monday's board of directors meeting.

The utility's board previously lowered the PCA by nearly 40 percent - 1.42 cents per kilowatt hour - effective July 1. The combined rate that started July 1 is 13.303 cents per kilowatt hour for residential customers. 

The PCA is a billing practice used by many utilities to make sure they are collecting enough to cover wholesale power costs without changing the base rate every month. Paducah Power's base residential rate remains 11.153 cents per kilowatt hour.

Paducah Power normally reviews and adjusts its PCA quarterly. In February, the PCA rose sharply to 3.59 cents per kilowatt hour, attributed to lower-than-expected output from Prairie State. The PCA declined slightly to 3.57 cents per kilowatt hour May 1.

That rate was scheduled to remain until Aug. 1, but the board moved up the recalculation based on new power cost information for May and updated projections for the next few months. The current quarter runs from July through September, and the PCA will be reviewed next in October, according to Dave Clark, PPS general manager.

"Hopefully, it will be set lower than it is now," Clark said.

The Prairie State facility is still experiencing problems related to the shakedown phase, Clark said, although the interruptions are of a shorter duration.

Board members also discussed resources available to customers such as tracking their daily usage using the mobile phone apps, signing up for budget billing that allows them to pay the same amount each month, and checking out portable energy monitors from Paducah Power to see how much power home appliances and electronics use. 

Board member Hardy Roberts suggested the utility look into the feasibility of establishing a "lifeline" rate which would lower the rate of the first 500 kilowatt hours of a customer's usage, for instance, and provide some relief for senior citizens and those on fixed incomes.

Contact David Zoeller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.

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