HENDERSON, Ky. (WFIE) - Big Rivers Electric Corporation, once again, went in front of city leaders Tuesday with a purchase proposal for Henderson Municipal Power & Light.
This is the third offer in recent years from the company.
Big Rivers argues selling HMP&L makes sense because “it provides the city with a cash windfall, financial stability, rate stability, continued local control, and an end to all outstanding disputes between Big Rivers and the City of Henderson.”
Big Rivers would keep its Airline Road operation in the city until at least 2035 ($3.2 million payroll, 34 jobs).
Big Rivers is offering to reimburse the city up to $50,000 for the cost of an independent third party to perform an economic evaluation of this offer. The city may choose whomever it desires to evaluate the offer. Mayor Steve Austin said, after the meeting, he plans to let the company know later this week if it plans to move forward with this study.
Key areas of the presentation from Big Rivers include how this offer benefits the city of Henderson and its ratepayers. In the proposal, Big Rivers plans to implement an immediate rate freeze and will not increase rates for at least five years. It would pay $90 million for the assets of HMP&L. The city would retain the HMP&L properties located along Water Street. There would also be guaranteed employment opportunities from all existing HMP&L employees.
14 News asked Bob Berry of Big Rivers how he felt walking away from the meeting.
“I don’t know; we’ll just have to wait and see how they respond,” said Berry. “This is our third offer. The economics have been the same on all three offers. So far for the first two, they haven’t even done an economic evaluation to determine if it’s a good deal or not. So, we’re hoping the third time is a charm.”
Big Rivers would assume all energy contracts held by the city.
Big Rivers would accept reversion of all Station Two properties and the City of Henderson would have no decommissioning cost obligation for Station Two.
An HMP&L leader also gave a presentation following Berry’s. He says he does not support this proposal.
The Mayor says he and elected leaders will consider it and get back in a reasonable amount of time.
“I was satisfied with both presentations that provided us the information we can move forward on,” said Mayor Steve Austin. “One way or another.”
“I think we’re going to keep digging into it a little more because we’re seeing so much back and forth there,” said Henderson City Commissioner Austin Vowels.
Big Rivers Electric Corporation is a member-owned, not-for-profit, generation and transmission cooperative. It provides wholesale electric power and services to three cooperative members that serve 118,000 consumers/members located across 22 counties in western Kentucky, and it sells wholesale power to entities across the country.