US utility Duke Energy Kentucky filed a proposal with the Kentucky Public Service Commission (KPSC) to increase its energy tariffs.According to the Northern Kentucky Tribune, the energy provider to 850,000 electric and 529,000 natural gas consumers in Kentucky and Ohio filed a proposal with the state energy regulator to increase its energy price by approximately 15% for all consumers. The approval of the proposal will allow Duke Energy Kentucky to increase energy tariffs for residential customers by 17.4% and 13.7% for commercial and industrial consumers as from April 1, 2018.
The development will result in an increase in energy bills by $15.17 from $88.60 to $103.77 for residential consumers with an average monthly energy use of 1,000KWh.
Despite the increase in energy prices, consumer energy bills will remain lower than the national average by $29.
Duke Energy Kentucky and grid upgrades
If KPSC provides Duke Energy Kentucky a green light to put the proposal into practice, the utility will be able to increase its revenue by $49 million and raise the capital required to fund grid modernisation and maintenance plans.
Jim Henning, president, Duke Energy Kentucky, said: “We continue to make the investments needed to build that smart energy future for our customers.”
The utility will use the capital raised to adopt an advanced metering infrastructure and make use of real-time consumer energy usage data to improve management of grid network, accurately bill customers and help them to increase their energy efficiency.
The smart meter infrastructure will also help Duke Energy Kentucky to improve its customer services through quick identification of grid assets failure, a development which would help reduce the occurrence and duration of power outages.
The utility also has plans to increase investments in the Neighborhood Energy Saver and the WinterCare programmes to make energy efficiency upgrades in consumer households and provide assistance to low-income consumers, respectively.
In addition, the energy provider will expand its clean energy portfolio to retire existing conventional energy generators, meet environmental regulations and provide customers with clean and affordable energy by investing $14.8 million towards the development of three solar plants in Walton and Crittenden.
The energy company will also upgrade existing energy generation facilities to reduce their carbon footprints and replace aging overhead and underground power lines.
Duke Energy Kentucky will also be able to recover $5 million in costs spent by the utility in 2008 when the company replaced infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Ike.
The filed proposal is Duke Energy Kentucky’s first over a period of 11 years.
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