Bardstown expects electric rate reduction

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By Randy Patrick

The City of Bardstown anticipates a substantial lowering of the wholesale price it pays for electricity, and it expects to pass the savings on to its municipal utilities customers in the form of lower rates.

City Electrical Engineer Eric Richter mentioned the savings during a discussion of the city’s combined utilities fiscal year 2020 budget at the City Council meeting Tuesday.

Richter said that KU officials recently gave the city an estimate on its electricity costs for the coming fiscal year and said that it is giving the municipal utility a $646,000 credit on its next bill.

The decrease in rates, as well as the recent KU wholesale refund, is in part because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Richter said. Additionally, major environmental improvements have been completed, and further improvements are not anticipated to be required. Also, KU predicts relatively stable fuel costs, Richter later explained.

“Not only did KU give us our credit, but they’re now forecasting a decreased rate next year, starting July 1, that we will be paying,” Richter said, so the city will be able to charge its customers less.

He expects the cost reduction to be about 4 to 4.5 percent.

“It will be an overall rate reduction, and most customers … will see an overall decrease,” he said.

How much will depend on the customers’ class, based on a just-completed cost-of-service study. The average customer who uses 1,100 kilowatts per month would see a 2 percent decrease, or about $2.30 per month.

The head of the department said the change will decrease electric revenue by about $1 million in the new fiscal year, from about $15.8 million.

He said there will be an ordinance next month reflecting the change.

Also during the meeting Tuesday, the heads of the various utility departments went over some highlights in their budgets — among them, the expenditure of nearly a million dollars to paint two water towers, including the city’s new logo; replacing water lines in the historic downtown area; major sewer projects, including the enlargement of a line in the area of the Nelson County Industrial Park; and the build-out of cable television and internet fiber optic lines.