Hyperbole is getting the citizens of Glasgow nowhere; rather it is separating us. I’ve been referred to as a “member of that hate group” and perhaps rather a zealot. A Glasgow City Councilman in January, 2019 publicly stated that my electric bill showed savings under the Coincident Peak Billing rate: how did the Councilman know that? Has my personal information been misused? The Councilman was correct; my wife and I did not suffer financially (we set out thermostat to 87 in summer and 65 for winter while EPB PSAs were urging people to alter thermostats by several degrees). My “hate” is for the rate that literally terrorizes the elderly citizens of Glasgow while financially stressing many households not on subsidized housing.
GEPB essentially performed a Beta Test on Peak Demand Billing that was mandatory for all residential consumers (until the KY AG asked for relief for the citizens of Glasgow). Glasgow was the only city in the USA with this draconian approach. Other cities’ consumers were afforded alternate fixed methods of billing, or choose peak ; while some cities allowed consumers to pick their timeframe for “peak” hours to suit their family’s needs. According to a publication titled “A Troubling Trend in Rate Design”, December 2015, by the Southern Environmental Law Center, “Nevada Energy’s Residential on-peak Time of Use (TOU) rate can reach 50 cents/kWh.” The GEPB rate of approximately $11.00 per k/Wh seems rather excessive. Many Glasgow citizens were financially hurt. Particularly galling to me is that the first billing of the Coincident Peak (even though “test” bills were provided prior to consumers receiving their first real bill) hit young families with children in Glasgow with a surprise in January, as the Christmas expenditures also showed up on Credit Card billings. It is not hard for me to imagine that many of Glasgow’s citizens never financially recovered from the “double hit” of Christmas bills concurrent with electric bills suddenly in the several hundreds of dollars!
Perhaps the most grievous effects of the rate fell on the elderly and sick. Patients with autoimmune disorders, respiratory, obesity, blood pressure and some medication issues are at risk. Sitting in their home with the temperature in the 80s is not conducive to their well-being. Our elderly and sick should not have to live this way. Interestingly enough, Glasgow’s Annual Growth Rate declined by 0.35% from 2016 to 2017 which is of course in the “middle” of the GEPB rate debate (2018 demographics not avail.). The aforementioned is the lowest growth rate since 1990.
I submit that if some residents of Glasgow think that there is no merit in questioning how we “got here”, I would point out that the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Kentucky thought otherwise. In a letter dated August 25, 2016 to the GEPB the AG states: “The current municipal rate schedule places an unequal burden on certain segments of Glasgow’s customers including the residential and small commercial rate classes. The fixed charges for customers have doubled and, in some instances, tripled.” The simple fact that Glasgow residents have no avenues of redress of rates, fixed (customer charges), etc. from the Public Service Commission, is to my mind ludicrous. GEPB is an end-user not a regulatory agency. As a new GEPB board member I’ll endeavor to ask hard questions.
Mark V. Biggers