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LG&E Customers Weigh In On Rate Hike Proposal

By Rick HowlettLouisville Gas and Electric customers lined up Monday evening to comment on rate increases requested by the utility.The hearing at Male High School was conducted by the Kentucky Public Service Commission, which is holding meetings across the state on rate hikes proposed by LG&E and its sister company, Kentucky Utilities.         The utilities say they're needed to pay for infrastructure improvements and for damage caused by recent weather disasters. Louisville resident Vernon Cook says he understands the need to meet those expenses, but the hikes should be based on energy consumption, rather than imposed uniformly on all customers"This allows fair competition with other forms of energy and it puts the economic burden on customers that consume the most energy, thereby avoiding an unfair economic burden on the poor," he said.LG&E is asking for an increase of about 12-percent for residential electricity. It's also proposing a monthly natural gas rate increase of about $4.65, plus a hike in its monthly gas meter fee.The rate case is not affected by the companies' pending sale to PPL Corporation.A ruling from the PSC is expected this summer.

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