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LG&E, KU Requesting Rate Increases

Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities are preparing to ask the Public Service Commission for rate increases that will take effect over the next five years.Company officials say the hikes are necessary to comply with environmental regulations. To comply with federal law, the utilities have to make their coal burning power plants pollute less. It'll cost about $2.5 billion, and spokesperson Chip Keeling says that money has to come from customers."You don't have a reserve in any company without knowing what those are going to be at any given time. So there's a system set up, through the Kentucky Public Service commission, which regulates us, whereby we can go for them and ask for recovery," he says.The state Public Service Commission will review the request next month and rule later this year. If the request is approved, LG&E rates will go up 19 percent over the next five years. That means bills would go up $2 next year and continue increasing until bills are about $16 higher each month in 2016. Kentucky Utilities bills will increase slightly less.

Gabe Bullard is the director of news and editorial strategy.