Glasgow Electric Plant Board Superintendent Billy Ray presented a new electric rate structure Wednesday that will be immediately available to customers who want to opt out of the utility's controversial "coincident peak" system, but this optional rate could be replaced by yet another structure later this month.
At a special-called EPB board of directors meeting Wednesday, Ray said electric provider Tennessee Valley Authority will not allow EPB to go back to its old rate structure, as Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear urged the utility to do in a letter issued Aug. 25.
Instead, the new rate structure, which will be available to customers Thursday, varies between on- and off-peak hours throughout the day, according to information in an email from Ray. During peak hours – which in September will be from 1 to 7 p.m. – the cost will be 15.521 cents per kilowatt hour. The charge will be 4.838 cents during off-peak hours.
Ray said these charges don't include fuel costs, which will add an extra 2 cents or so. He recommended that the board of directors vote to kill this system in late September in favor of a permanent optional structure he is developing at the board of directors' behest. The rate to be introduced later this month "will be very simple, much like the old retail electric rates," Ray said in an email.
“While it is not the specific rate you asked me to accomplish before the end of September, it's something," Ray told the board at the meeting. "It's something that doesn't have a coincident peak charge."
The new structures – both the one introduced Wednesday and the one Ray is developing – are intended to offer customers the ability to opt out of EPB's coincident peak system, which charges a rate of roughly $11 per kilowatt hour during the one hour each month when demand is highest. Since it was instituted in January, the coincident peak system has been met with opposition, with many critics arguing it places an unfair burden on certain customers – such as the elderly, disabled or working families – who do not have the ability to adjust electric use during potential peak hours, which generally occur in the afternoons on extremely hot or cold days.
According to data from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, the average cost per kilowatt hour in 2014 for Glasgow residential customers was 10.78 cents, with an average bill of $112.22.
"In 2014, the average price of electricity across economic sectors in Kentucky was 8.13 cents per kilowatt hour. This average price ranked Kentucky electricity prices the eighth lowest in the country. The residential sector paid the highest price for electricity at 10.05 cents per kilowatt hour, followed by the commercial sector at 9.34 cents per kilowatt hour, and the industrial sector at 5.67 cents per kilowatt hour, fourth lowest in the country," the cabinet report stated.
The optional rate announced Wednesday should be replaced by the still-in-development rate structure because "having three different rate structures to deal with would cause so much ... computer code to be written that it would be economically intractable,” Ray said to the board.
Sherri Myers, a member of a group called Glasgow Citizens Against the New EPB Rate Structure, said the new optional system charges too much during peak hours but is still a relief compared to the coincident peak rate.
"It's not really going to save us much, but at least it won't hold us hostage," she said.
She considers roughly 15 cents per kWh – which, including fuel costs, will be about 17 cents – to be unreasonable.
— Follow Daily News reporter Jackson French on Twitter @Jackson_French or visit bgdailynews.com.