The Kentucky Public Service Commission will hold a meeting tomorrow to allow the public to weigh in on a proposal by Louisville Gas and Electric. The utility is asking the commission to approve a plan to convert the coal-fired Cane Run Power Station to natural gas.
LG&E wants to reconfigure the Cane Run power plant to use natural gas because of the increased cost to comply with upcoming federal air pollution regulations. A potential end to coal-burning is welcome news for many living near the plant, who cite pollution from the coal ash landfills on the property. But PSC spokesman Andrew Melnykovych says with decisions like this, the commission doesn’t take environmental issues into account.
“The only aspect of the environmental compliance that the PSC considers is the cost and how that is to be passed on to the ratepayers,” he said. “But in terms of issues such as the future of the ash landfills at that facility, that is not something that the PSC has any jurisdiction over.”
By law, the Public Service Commission is required to make sure utilities are providing the most reliable electricity at the lowest cost to consumers.
LG&E estimates the nearly $700 million project won’t raise LG&E customers’ rates. Because they’re estimated to use a large share of the power, the project will raise Kentucky Utilities rates about 4 percent.
The meeting is Thursday at 5:30 in the cafeteria at Shacklette Elementary School. Written comments are also accepted, mailed to PO Box 615, Frankfort, KY 40602, faxed to (502) 564-9625, emailed through the PSC’s website or delivered in person at the meeting.