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E.ON U.S. Looking At Ways To "Harden" System

From Stu Johnson, Kentucky Public Radio/WEKU, RichmondThe parent firm of Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities has asked for some guidance from the Kentucky Public Service Commission on ways to lessen the likelihood of future power outages.The request from E.ON U.S. comes after January's massive ice storm that caused widespread outages. For some parts of the state, it was the second major ice storm in six years.Eon Vice-president Greg Thomas says the system can be improved by using thicker wiring and stronger towers. But removing trees is the priority."We would target the diseased and dying trees, the trees that really pose a threat to us and then try to work with our neighborhood associations and our customers to try and remove those trees," he said Monday.Thomas says a program to ‘harden’ the entire utility system statewide would likely carry a price tag of $130 million and $280 million. He says that could mean as much as a $1.50 increase per month for customers.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.