Chamber of Commerce Opposes PSC Election Bill

by Gabe Bullard on February 23, 2011

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is speaking out against a bill that would require members of the Public Service Commission to be elected, rather than appointed.

The measure has cleared the Senate. It begins the process of changing the PSC from a three-member body appointed by the Governor and approved by the Senate to a seven-member panel elected by Kentuckians. The bill was introduced as a means to fight PSC-approved utility rate increases.

Chamber President Dave Adkisson says the legislation would turn the PSC into a playground for amateur politicians and those seeking a state paycheck and little else.

“The last thing we need to do is politicize the Public Service Commission by electing members and bringing in outside money into campaigns that could twist the intent of what the Public Service Commission is all about,” he says.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Ray Jones, did not return a request for comment placed Wednesday morning. Proponents of the bill say it would make the PSC more accountable to Kentuckians who don’t want higher electricity rates. Kentucky, however, has lower utility rates than states with elected commissions.

Various other businesses and the environmental advocates in the Kentucky Resources Council have joined the chamber’s calls against the bill.

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