Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

March 25, 2014

House passes bill aimed at saving Big Sandy Plant

FRANKFORT — Backers of a bill to require the Kentucky Public Service Commission to “reconsider” its previous order approving Kentucky Power’s purchase of a West Virginia generator say all they are asking “is for them to take a second look and look at all the facts.”

House Bill 535, sponsored by Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, would require the PSC to reconsider any multi-state transaction if another state’s utility regulators don’t approve the transaction. That describes the KPC transaction in which it purchased half the generating power of a Moundsville, W.Va., generator.

The purchase allows KPC to replace the power generated at one of KPC’s two coal fired units at its Louisa Big Sandy Plant. The other unit eventually is to be converted to natural gas.

Doing so will eliminate Big Sandy’s annual purchase of 2.5 million tons of coal during an already depressed coal economy in eastern Kentucky. Adkins and Rep. Keith Hall, D-Phelps, who spoke in favor of the bill Tuesday, are strong supporters of the coal industry.

The move is a major blow to the Lawrence County economy and will cost the local government and school system there almost $900,000 in annual property taxes.

The transaction allows KPC to comply with a 2007 consent order with the federal government to reduce emissions or close the plant by 2015. The transaction will result in a 14 percent rate increase for KPC’s 175,000 customers in 20 eastern Kentucky counties. Rate-payers will also have to pay a 5 percent surcharge to pay for the acquisition of the Mitchell Power Plant in West Virginia.

Adkins and Hall want KPC to install pollution controls called scrubbers which would allow the plant to continue burning coal but the company says that will increase rates by 30 percent of more.

KPC and Ohio Power, which owns the Mitchell Plant, are both subsidiaries of Ohio based American Electric Power. AEP originally intended to sell the other half of the Mitchell Plant’s generating capacity to another subsidiary company serving West Virginia and southern Virginia but regulatory agencies in those states did not approve the transfer.

That’s Adkins’ argument: the Kentucky PSC should reconsider its own ruling in light of the other commissions’ rulings.

Hall argued Tuesday that KPC made $40 million in profits last year and rates are already too high.

“Why is it I pay $250 a month to heat my home in Frankfort, while my mama pays $600 to heat her home of the same size?” Hall asked.

But Rep. Brian Linder, R-Dry Ridge, who works for Owen Electric Cooperative, said installing scrubbers would minimally raise rates by 30 percent. Linder said the problem lies not with KPC but with the anti-coal regulations from Washington.

Rep. Jim Gooch, D-Providence, also argued Kentucky is being unfairly treated by Washington and the administration of Barack Obama because of its reliance on coal and the consequent low energy costs.  (The consent order was signed by KPC in 2007, the year before Obama was elected to his first term.)

Rep. Kevin Sinnette, D-Ashland, said Adkins’ bill “puts pressure on Kentucky Power to tell the truth” about the transaction and its customer rates.

Other than Linder, no one spoke against the bill and it passed 62-34. It will now go to the Senate for action.

RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.


Text Only
Local News
  • Jesse Stuart Foundation celebrates 35 years

    The annual Jesse Stuart Foundation Open House from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 will be a huge celebration.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729hagerman.jpg Hagerman talks law with Rotary

    At Monday’s lunchtime meeting of the Ashland Rotary Club, Boyd County Circuit Court Judge C. David Hagerman summed up current local legal trends — and how cases, courts and criminals have changed during his 20-plus year tenure.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue speaks during an interview in Salt Lake City

    Fish and houseguests both stink after three days — and much less time when a visitor pockets valuables without permission.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Iconic Gate City bank torn down after partial collapse

    This weekend, Catlettsburg’s downtown silhouette lost one of its longest-lived landmarks.
    Demolition workers began to tear down one of the Gate City’s oldest downtown buildings following the former Catlettsburg National Bank’s partial collapse.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Study shows room for parking improvement

    It has been suggested that the parking layout along Winchester Avenue should change, bringing the city’s main thoroughfare down to two lanes.

    July 28, 2014

  • Anti-smoking tour kicks off in Ashland

    A scan in 2009 that was supposed to show doctors what was causing Deborah Cline’s eye problems by chance revealed the cancer in her lung.
    Two years later, Roger Cline watched his wife die of lung cancer. Deborah Cline was 59 and had never smoked.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Gate City landmark demolished

    The historic Catlettsburg National Bank Building was being taken down after the front dormer window collapsed on Sunday.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • Local counties see drop in unemployment

    Boyd County was one of 117 counties that saw a decrease in its unemployment rate between June 2013 and June 2014.

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726bigboy.JPG Big Boy to open Aug. 11

    The long-awaited Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant will open Aug. 11, and when it does it will be business as usual from day one: the eatery will open its doors to the early breakfast crowd at 6:30.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SOAR meeting at MSU Aug. 6

    Morehead State University and St. Claire Regional Medical Center will present Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers as part of a "Health Impact Series" under the new Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative.

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone