Pike County Judge Executive says "pure neglect" led to numerous outages during December storm

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

The Pike County judge-executive is now threatening to file a lawsuit against Kentucky Power for the power outages in December.

The Public Service Commission just received the letter on Tuesday.
PSC representatives say they are evaluating the situation.

Half of the people in Pike County lost power in the snow storm before Christmas. some were out for eight to ten days.

In a letter to the Public Service Commission, Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford claims "pure neglect" from Kentucky Power caused the outages.

"Our people suffered because of American Electric Power/Kentucky Power not doing their duty and doing prevention maintenance on the right of ways." Rutherford said.

Kentucky Power officials say that is not true.

"We do certainly take right of way maintenance seriously. We do operate in a challenging environment where tree growth is rampant so we do the best with the money we have available." Ronn Robinson, a spokesman for Kentucky Power said.

Kentucky Power officials say they spent nine and a half million dollars clearing more than 950 miles of right of way last year.

"What caused the trees to fall in the first place were ten inches of wet, heavy snow, something unusual for the area that we don't get that often." Robinson said.

Rutherford disagrees and now the county attorney is researching if they can file a lawsuit to make Kentucky Power to pay for the thousands of dollars spent on shelters, food, and kerosene during the outages.

"To recover the taxpayers money that we expended trying to keep people from freezing to death." Rutherford said.

Kentucky Power officials say they cannot comment on legal matters.

Rutherford says the attorney's research and decision on whether they can file a lawsuit against Kentucky Power will be presented at a later fiscal court meeting.

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