PPS rate recovery plan leaves other options on the table

Paducah Power System’s board is acting on a plan to fix their finances and lower your bill, but customers said they’re still skeptical. “God help us, I hope it works,” said Ronnie Goode.

Despite how big your power bill may be, Paducah Power System’s finance director says they aren’t collecting enough money to cover the utility’s bills. That’s part of the reason Fitch Ratings put PPS on a watch list.

Wednesday, the board approved a plan to bring in the revenue they need without raising your rate or the power cost adjustment. But, it’s still no guarantee.

“It’s important that we take this first step, and that’s what this plan represents,” said Interim General Manager Mark Crisson. A 23-page presentation containing long and short-term solutions for fixing the Prairie State problem still isn’t enough to convince some people that Paducah Power System is headed in the right direction. Goode said, “We have to look at this plan with a high degree of skepticism.”

Crisson admitted the rate recovery plan isn’t fool-proof. That’s why the board is still considering alternatives like bankruptcy or even legal action. Crisson said, “While this plan focuses on a few areas, were not taking any options off the table. Under the circumstances, we think we need to be looking at everything.”

The other options in the long-term plan for sustainable and competitive rates include getting Prairie State to produce, re-funding old bonds, and marketing PPS’ assets. Crisson said, “We’ve got to get these things running better, we’ve got to market them more efficiently, or sell some of the assets.” They’re all ideas that the board is giving him the authority to act on or amend. “This plan is a living plan. It’s organic in a sense that it’s gonna be changing over the next few weeks and months,” he said.

The board told customers today that they will be giving monthly updates on how well their ideas are working out. They also talked about four different ways to help people manage their bills right now as we head into winter. If the power cost adjustment stays where it is now, the average homeowner should see bills about 5.5 percent lower, even if we do have a harsh winter.

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