Three industries have filed notice that they intend to appeal a recent decision allowing Big Rivers Electric Corp. to increase rates.
Last month, the Kentucky Public Service Commission approved agreements allowing Century Aluminum - the utility's biggest customer - to leave the Big Rivers system and purchase power on the open market. That led Big Rivers to request a rate increase for its remaining 112,000 customers in western Kentucky.
The PSC hasn't approved the increase, but it did allow the utility to begin charging higher rates subject to refunding customers money if a smaller hike is approved.
The Gleaner reports that Kentucky Industrial Utility Customers filed the notice of appeal with Franklin Circuit Court on behalf of Kimberly Clark paper mill, Domtar paper mill and Aleris aluminum rolling mill.
Members of the public who would be impacted by a potential rate increase by Big Rivers Electric Corporation have opportunities to speak out this week. The Kentucky Public Service Commission is holding meetings in Owensboro and Henderson, and a chance for Brandenburg residents to link via video conferencing.
The Henderson-based Big Rivers wants approval for a rate adjustment that will raise $74.5 million dollars in increased revenue. The possible 20 percent increase would account for an extra $24 per month for the average customer. Industrial customers would see nearly 17 percent rate increases.
The utility says most of that new revenue is needed to offset the loss of the Century Aluminum smelter in Hawesville, which will cease to be a Big Rivers client in mid-August. Big Rivers provides power to a region extending from Meade County through Owensboro and Henderson and into Paducah in far western Kentucky.
The Public Service Commission will hold two meetings this Thursday for public comments on the proposed rate hike. The first is at South Middle School in Henderson at 1 p.m., and the second will be at the Owensboro Community and Technical College that evening at 5:30.
Big Rivers customers in the Brandenburg area can watch the Owensboro meeting via a video-conference at Meade County High School starting at 6:30 p.m. eastern.
Gov. Steve Beshear joined local and company officials Wednesday in announcing that Gibbs Die Casting is expanding operations at its world headquarters in Henderson, adding 160 jobs and investing more than $22.8 million.
Gibbs Die Casting, established in 1965 and owned by Koch Enterprises, has grown into one of the world’s largest die casting companies, operating eight factories for aluminum and magnesium casting, machining, assembly and die building with facilities in Hungary, Brazil and China. The Henderson facility currently employs more than 560 people.
The expansion project includes adding new manufacturing lines for eight-speed transmission parts and rear axles for the automotive industry.
Henderson County is the recipient of $1.4 million in grants aimed at improving recycling efforts in the region.
More than $900,000 will go towards the Tri-County Alliance Recycling Center, which covers Henderson, Webster, and Union counties. The Center’s goal is to reduce the amount of recyclables that are dumped in area landfills.
The new funding will go to create one large, centralized recycling center that will collect, process, and market recyclables. The new 3,000-square-foot recycling center is currently under construction in Henderson.
As part of the grants announced Wednesday, the Hugh Edward Sandefur Training Center is receiving $500,000. The nonprofit serves Daviess, Henderson, Union, and Webster counties and provides employment training to those with disabilities.
The Center recently signed an agreement to reclaim and recycle electronic waste in western Kentucky and southern Indiana.
Officials at Henderson Community College want to increase campus safety.
The college's dean of student affairs Patty Mitchell said a new team's purpose is to identify any person on campus who is exhibiting threatening behavior toward themselves or others. Mitchell says school employees will be trained in how to determine whether behavior is threatening. She said those who witness such behavior will report it to the behavior assessment team, which will then deal with it in a manner appropriate for the situation.
Officials say shootings do happen at community colleges, noting a deadly one at Hazard Community College in January.