Environment

Kentuckians in the eastern part of the state pay the most for their electricity bills, according to a new energy affordability tool on the Energy and Environment Cabinet website

More than a dozen Eastern Kentucky counties topped the list for the most expensive monthly electric bills, based on data from 2020, the latest available. 

Boyd, Perry and Pike counties had the most expensive monthly bills in the state, averaging a little more than $147. That’s about 16% more than the average residential customer paying around $125 per month, based on EEC data. 

Jefferson County ratepayers had among the lowest electricity bills in the state at about $106 per month. 

Kentucky Energy & Environment Cabinet

Energy and Environment Secretary Rebecca Goodman said the new website compares utility costs county to county, including electricity, gas and water.  It’s designed to help Kentuckians better understand energy and water usage, she said. 

“Too often, high-energy burdens result in families choosing between keeping the lights on or paying for other basic needs such as food and prescriptions,” Goodman said. “We want to do more so our citizens don’t have to make this choice, and we hope this is one resource that can help.” 

The long term decline of the coal industry has had a particular impact on utility rates in eastern Kentucky. Utilities like Kentucky Power lost more than 10,000 customers including heavy electricity users in the coal mining and steel industries. As industry shuttered and people moved away, fewer ratepayers remain to help cover the utility’s fixed-costs.   

Last week, state utility regulators approved the sale of Kentucky Power to Liberty Utilities for around $2.8 billion. The terms of that deal include a $113.5 million fund to offset future rate increases, fuel adjustment costs and infrastructure with the goal of limiting the costs for Kentucky Power customers. 

The state plans to hold an online tutorial on the energy affordability tool on Thursday, May 19.

 

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter.