The rate debate between Big Rivers Electric and Century Aluminum has taken a new turn. One that could increase how much customers pay each month.
Big Rivers, Kenergy's energy supplier, has applied for a rate increase with the public service commission. It hasn't been approved yet, but Kenergy and Big Rivers met Wednesday, to discuss how it could impact customers.
Kenergy says residential consumers and small businesses could see a 19 percent increase. That boils down to about $24 extra each month. Big businesses and industrial companies are looking at a 17 percent hike.
The rate increase is Kenergy's response to losing its biggest customer, Century Aluminum. Officials say they have to adjust their rates and spread out costs to make up for the loss in business.
"Typically, we always make decisions in the best interest of all our consumers. So obviously this rate increase is something no utility wants to do, but it's the only immediate fix in the short term," said Marty Littrel with Big Rivers.
Again, the rate increase still has to go through the PSC review process. If approved, Kenergy expects the higher rates to kick in sometime in August. That's also when Century Aluminum will no longer be a customer.
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