Jackson Purchase Energy Corporation has filed a rate increase request with the Kentucky Public Service Commission which includes a proposed 15.2% increase for residential customers, its largest rate class.

In its Oct. 15 filing with the PSC, JPEC proposes raising the residential facilities charge (which all customers pay) from $16.40 to $21.25 per month, and the energy charge (based on kilowatt-hour usage) from 10.078 cents per kwh to 11.487 cents per kwh.

JPEC officials said the amount of increase for the average residential customer (1,176 kwh usage) would be $21.42 per month.

For small commercial single phase customers, the proposed facilities charge would also go from $16.40 to $21.25 per month, and the energy charge from 10.217 cents per kwh to 11.429 cents per kwh, an increase of 14.2%.

For small commercial three-phase customers, the proposed facilities charge would go from $24.90 to $32.27 per month, and the energy charge from 9.701 cents per kwh to 10.130 cents per kwh, an increase of 7%.

While JPEC, in its filing, asked the PSC for the proposed rates to be approved by Nov. 14, the process is expected to take longer, said Greg Grissom, president/CEO of the electric cooperative.

“Our hope is that the rates will be in effect some time late spring or early next summer,” he said.

“It all depends on when the commission hears the case. It’s a long process, we’ll go through multiple rounds of data requests and questions from the commission.”

The proposed rates would result in an increase in revenue of $7.3 million, according to JPEC.

“They (the commission) will decide on how many dollars are in energy and how many of the dollars are in the actual customer charge,” Grissom said. “They will definitely amend it some way or another.”

Jackson Purchase serves approximately 30,000 members in the Kentucky counties of Ballard, Carlisle, Graves, Livingston, Marshall and McCracken. The last increase in the utility’s base rate was in 2008.

According to the utility, the primary reason for the increase is due to the rising cost of tree trimming and vegetation management.

“As a nonprofit, member-owned, rural electric cooperative, increasing the rates our consumers pay remains our last choice,” Grissom said.

“We strive to be a neighbor in the communities we serve, and to provide the best service as efficiently as possible. Our goal is to forecast the needs of the cooperative so that we are able to stall increases. This model has been successful in stalling increases for the last 13 years.”

The utility noted in its filing that retail base rates have only increased by less than $4.7 million over the past 13 years, but Jackson Purchase’s energy sales have declined while purchased power and other costs of conducting business have increased.

In addition to the rate relief, JPEC is asking the PSC to approve recovery of reasonable rate case expenses amortized over three years.

Follow David Zoeller on Twitter, @DZoeller_The Sun

Follow David Zoeller on Twitter, @DZoeller_The Sun

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