The Kentucky Public Service Commission has approved a rate increase for customers of a western Kentucky utility that sought the increase to absorb the loss of its biggest customer, an aluminum smelter.
The PSC authorized Big Rivers Electric Corp. to seek an additional $54.2 million annually from customers. The PSC says in a statement the authorization is about $20 million less than what Big Rivers requested.
The increase means the average customer's monthly bill will go up by about $17.
Century Aluminum's Hawesville smelter consumed about 40 percent of the power generated by Big Rivers before ending its relationship with the utility in August. Another Century Aluminum smelter, in Sebree, is scheduled to depart the Big Rivers system in January.
Big Rivers serves about 112,000 customers in 26 counties.