Bryan Sunderland, vice president of public affairs for the Chamber, testifies at the hearing of SB 151.
SB 151 (Jones) received significant discussion in the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee on Thursday. Under the original language, the bill would have changed the make-up of Kentucky’s Public Service Commission by increasing the number of commissioners from three to seven and making them elected positions instead of appointed. This model has been used in 13 other states and brought instability in the utility markets by politicizing the process of reviewing rate cases brought before the commission.
After opposition by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Resources Council, the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers and the Kentucky Association of Economic Development, and other business groups, the bill was amended by Senator Katie Stine to turn the legislation into a study over the interim period. The study will be directed at recent utility rate increase decisions and if improvements can be made to the make-up of Kentucky’s Public Service Commission to become more consumer-minded in their review of utility rate cases. The measure now awaits action by the full Senate.