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Western Ky. utility notifies of big rate increase

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) - A western Kentucky electric utility is telling customers their rates will increase by more than 20 percent after its power supplier lost its biggest customer, an aluminum smelter.

Jackson Purchase Energy Corp. is telling ratepayers their electric bills will increase by an average of about $22 a month. The higher rates begin Tuesday. The utility's power supplier, Big Rivers Electric Corp, recently lost the Century Aluminum smelter in Hawesville as a customer. Big Rivers is requesting a $68.6 million rate increase to cover the losses.

Century had warned of a shutdown the plant if it could not change its electric supplier.

The smelter, along with another smelter in Sebree, consumed more than two-thirds of the electricity generated by Big Rivers.

Jackson Purchase Energy serves about 30,000 customers in six counties.


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