Liberty’s Purchase of Kentucky Power Means a Brighter Future for Eastern Kentucky
By David Swain
If you’ve recently filled up your cart at the grocery store or your car at the gas pump, you’ve probably been taken aback by the price on the register. Costs are rising for many of the basic goods and services we rely on every day—and as we continue to bounce back from the challenges of the last two years, paying for these expenses on top of other bills and obligations can feel overwhelming.
Fortunately, for eastern Kentucky utility customers, good news in the form of much-needed savings on their electric bills may be on the horizon.
As you’ve likely heard, Liberty has negotiated with American Electric Power (AEP) to purchase Kentucky Power and assume its operations in eastern Kentucky. Liberty is part of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp which provides safe and reliable utility services to over one million customer connections, primarily in the U.S. This transaction will light the way toward a strong future of reliable and cost-effective electric service, providing customers with significant cost savings while preserving local jobs and creating new ones.
As part of the transaction, which must be approved by regulators, Liberty is proposing immediate benefits which could lower residential customer bills by 14 to 16 percent, potentially saving Eastern Kentuckians hundreds of dollars a year on their electric bills. Liberty is also committed to keeping all current Kentucky Power employees, adding approximately 100 new jobs to support expanded operations in the region and maximizing the life of the Big Sandy natural gas plant near Louisa—all good things for our communities.
As things have progressed over the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to return to my Kentucky roots—my dad’s family is from Harlan, and I lived in Paducah for several years—and meet many local elected officials, economic development leaders and everyday people from eastern Kentucky. I recently bought a house in Ashland and look forward to moving there in the coming weeks.
During this time, my team and I have heard, understood and addressed the questions shared with us and will continue to work with local officials and stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition that puts customers first. We are thankful that our commitments to eastern Kentucky have garnered such significant support across the region. Local officials and business groups have sent letters to the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) in support of the purchase.
Retaining existing employees, creating new jobs and supporting the region’s economy are our top priorities as we enter the eastern Kentucky market. Our first guarantee was offering a job to every Kentucky Power employee. When you purchase a utility, you’re not just buying hard assets, like the plants and distribution lines—you’re also getting the opportunity to retain the expertise of those who know best how to make the system run. That’s not something we wanted to overlook or miss out on.
Furthermore, Liberty adheres to a local operations model where our primary functions are based within the region we’re serving, not at a location far from local customers. This means we’ll be bringing a new call center to the region so that when a customer has an issue, the person who picks up the phone is a neighbor, someone who lives locally and can serve our customers locally—and we’ll be hiring 20 to 25 people to staff it.
If the transaction is approved by regulators, we look forward to serving the people of eastern Kentucky and helping this region thrive through jobs, economic development, and, most importantly, reliable, cost-effective, local electric service for the many individuals, families and businesses who call eastern Kentucky home.