Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Local News

November 20, 2013

Ruling expected in Olive Hill electric suit

Nov. 20, 2013 — Attorneys representing Olive Hill electric customers appeared in Carter Circuit Court on Friday for a status hearing.

Attorneys Mike Fox and Reid Glass, as well as Patrick Flannery and James Deckard, filed complaints in February alleging that the City of Olive Hill illegally raised electric rates in violation of KRS 96.534, which requires prior public notice of electric rate increases for municipally-owned utilities.

The suit was ruled a class action suit in September but will only have one set of attorneys representing the residents.

“You should have a decision late next week,” Judge Rebecca Phillips told the attorneys. “I may still be tinkering with the orders, but I do have proposed orders from all sides.”

Phillips said the ruling would be filed by Friday.

Both suits came in the wake of a Jan. 14 opinion handed down by the Attorney General's Office of Rate Intervention (ORI).

In that report, ORI Director Jennifer Black Hans asserted that the city's electric rate ordinance, which had been in effect since 2000, violates KRS 96.534 which requires city-owned utility companies to hold public hearings before increasing electric rates.

The suit alleges, among other violations, that the city committed fraud and violated the Consumer Protection Act by not following established state law in the setting and adjustment of electric rates, specifically alleging that the city sought to “evade a public hearing on proposed increases in rates or fees for electric utility services.”

The complaint requests that all excess fees paid to the city be returned to the plaintiffs, in addition to their attorney fees, the cost of the lawsuit, and anything else to which the plaintiffs are entitled.

Leeann Akers can be reached at lakers@journal-times.com or by phone at 474-5101.

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