PSC reduces Kentucky-American Water rate increase

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT/WYMT) - Kentucky-American Water customers will soon be receiving a refund. The Kentucky Public Service Commission approved a rate hike, but it was about half of what Kentucky-American wanted.

And since the company put its proposed rate hike into effect months ago, that means it now owes customers. So you'll still be paying more for water just not as much as you've been paying since July of this year.

"We want the rates to stay as low as possible, so it's always a balancing act," said Andrew Melnykovych, who is the communications director with Public Service Commission, PSC.

For Kentucky-American Water customers, their rates have increased three times over the past six years. And once again, what the company raised the rates to was lowered by the PSC. Kentucky-American Water wanted $12.3 million more in revenue a year, raising the prices for the average household nearly six dollars a month. They say they needed extra money to pay for system upgrades.

"We reduced that amount by about 44 percent, so almost half," said Melnykovych. The increase is now on average $3.55 a month, giving Kentucky-American approximately $6.9 million more in revenue a year.

Now customers will get money back for the higher rates they've been paying for four months now. Kentucky-American Water officials tell us they will refund the difference plus interest by crediting customers' accounts within the next 60 days. The company's president, Cheryl Norton, released this statement Friday night:

"As a utility whose services are critical to ensuring public health, we take our responsibility to provide quality drinking water seriously, and as such, are committed to keeping our systems and facilities well-maintained and serviced. The ongoing capital investments we make are necessary to ensure that such quality service continues."

As far as when the next rate increase will happen, that's up to Kentucky-American Water.

"The bill will stay at that level that the commission authorized until the next time that they choose to come in for a rate increase," said Melnykovych.

Kentucky-American Water also wanted surcharges added to bills to help pay for infrastructure repairs and replacements. PSC also rejected those surcharges.

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