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PPS addresses City Commission and Residents

Lance Dennee

The Paducah City Commission introduced a resolution ‘Call for Action’ demanding a solution from the Paducah Power System. Last night the commission heard a presentation by Prairie State Energy Campus executives addressing their part in sky-rocketing energy costs to area consumers. Residents like Gayle Frye voiced their concerns to Prairie State and Paducah Power executives.

“I felt like I was listening to a philandering husband or a wife who had been caught cheating. And, all that you were doing was explaining why you were not producing,” Frye said. “And, your capacity, it seems, produces a product that you cannot produce.”

Paducah Mayor Gayle Kaler says the presentation offered few answers.

“The meeting was for them (Prairie State) to identify with all our rate payers that are suffering and what it’s, how it’s impacting our community, financially, economically,” Kaler said. “Did they answer much? No. They really didn’t.”

Kaler says she has contacted the attorney general, the U.S. Department of Energy, and Congressional delegates.

PPS CEO Dave Clark says Paducah Power has not been misled by the consulting firm RW Beck, now Leidos, which presented the investment into Prairie State. He says he believed the generating plant would deliver on its promises.

“We felt, honestly felt that we’d be at 85 percent,” Clark said. “That was our own consultants, that was our own work.”

PPS has thirty-two million dollars in assets and a debt of six hundred million dollars. Local attorney Mark Bryant says it’s time for PPS to file bankruptcy.

City Manager Jeff Pederson says PPS has to keep rates high to pay off their debt.

“At the end of the day, Paducah Power has to be financially solvent and it has to meet its debt obligation,” Pederson said. “And, financially if it were possible to lower rates, if it had been yesterday, we would have.”

The next meeting of the power board is set for September 30. 

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