Kentucky utility regulators understaffed, under-resourced

Nov 18, 2021
Ryan Van Velzer

Public Service Commission Chairman Kent Chandler told state lawmakers Wednesday the utility regulatory agency doesn’t have the staff or resources to manage the current workload — let alone the work expected from a windfall of federal funding for infrastructure projects. 

It’s hard to tell from the name, but the Public Service Commission is the state agency in charge of regulating most utilities, including electricity, gas, some water and even a little bit of telecommunications. 

Chandler’s frank admission came in response to a question from Republican state Rep. Suzanne Miles of Owensboro about whether the Public Service Commission had adequate staffing.  

“No,” Chandler said during the Interim Joint Committee on Natural Resources & Energy. “I don’t mean to be flippant, Representative Miles, but I just want to be honest. We do not.”

Owensboro Municipal Utilities

Kentucky’s moratorium on disconnecting utility customers during the pandemic has ended and some residents in Owensboro are among those being cut off from electricity, water and internet.

The statewide moratorium that suspended utility disconnections ended on Nov. 6 

Owensboro Municipal Utilities reported that it is disconnecting an average of 48 customers a week due to unpaid bills.

OMU spokeswoman Sonya Dixon said that average is the same as before the pandemic. 

“Those that are eligible for disconnection at this point are those that have not kept payment arrangements, but primarily those are the ones that had balances prior to the pandemic,” said Dixon.