electricityMADISONVILLE, Ky. (3/7/18) — Doug Buresh, President and CEO of Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency, presented a brief presentation during a press conference held Monday at City Hall.

Buresh covered the savings that are projected to result from the formation and implementation of KyMEA as Madisonville’s provider of electric power that will take effect next year.

“I am happy that we will procure reduced energy costs for our customers,” said Madisonville Electric Department Superintendent Chris Melton. “I believe this will create significant savings for our existing customers and serve as a way to attract new customers to our area.”

Mayor David Jackson and City Council voted to terminate their contract with Kentucky Utilities in 2014 due to consistently escalating electric costs. Following internal deliberation, numerous meetings and negotiations, the city partnered with 10 other cities to form KyMEA that include Barbourville, Bardwell, Benhan, Berea, Corbin, Falmouth, Frankfort, Paris, Providence and Owensboro.

Projections as high as 14 percent reductions are expected to benefit residential and commercial customers during KyMEA’s first operating year, which would generate an estimated $16.9 million annual power supply cost, city officials stated in a press release. On the other hand, KU comparatively estimates their annual power supply cost to total $19.8 million through June of this year.

“Obviously this is a projected rate, but we have our power supply secured so we’re comfortable with our projections in and around that, subject to any changes,” said Buresh. “One of the things I was looking at when I was researching Madisonville was your motto “Madisonville Forward—Investing in Ourselves,” and I thought that sums up exactly what we’re doing with KyMEA as well. The decision for Madisonville to start this agency and be a founding member was investing in ourselves, it fits perfectly with what you’re doing and what we’re doing.”

The transition of purchased power will help to stabilize rates that will allow those within the community to get the best possible deal on energy purchase and will push Madisonville to be competitive within the market for attracting new jobs and corporations, city officials reported.

“As our rates and our current provider’s separate, as ours stays stable and theirs continues to climb, I believe that difference represents economic development opportunities for Madisonville,” Jackson said. “Companies will begin looking very hard at Madisonville simply because of the tremendous advantage that we’re going to have in rates.”

Officials indicated switching from KU to KyMEA is expected to lower rates for private residences and commercial businesses that purchase power from participating entities, which can produce a more attractive environment for businesses looking to open up new franchises in developing areas.

“Since utility costs are normally one of the largest components of an industrial company’s expense structure, any reduction is going to make a difference,” said Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic Development Corp. President Ray Hagerman. “This reduction will increase our competitiveness as we seek to see local company expansions and the relocations of new companies to the area. Further, since having a strong workforce is incredibly important, lower residential rates increase the chances of people wanting to stay here or move here. This also increases our competitiveness. So overall, this is a very good thing for the economic future of our community.”

KyMEA hopes to get everything in working order by January, with four months to streamline processes and fix any kinks in the system before they begin delivering power on May 1, 2019.

“This is kind of a NASA-type application where you practice, practice, practice so when you start delivering, you’re ready to go with no flaws,” Buresh said. “That’s what we’re going to do.”

SurfKY News
Information provided by Skylar Phaup

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