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Utilities: Services More Stable Than the Economy

By wmadministrator

FREMONT, CA – OCTOBER 9: PG&E power lines are photographed in Fremont, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)

Kentucky’s utilities have had to respond to economic disruptions in the past year. The pandemic created steep drop-offs in activity for some sectors—office-based operations and hospitality— while others such as logistics and fulfillment boomed. Activity resumed quickly when it was allowed. Then ongoing supply chain congestion hit, and global prices for natural gas went through the roof. The power has stayed on and reasonably priced, and Kentuckians are growing used to the sight of solar panel arrays. Water services remain reliable for major utility customers, and the state is funding improvements for many rural providers.

“I expect the Kentucky economy to continue to revert to the new normal in 2022. The pandemic, recession, labor shortage, and supply chain disruptions have all contributed to a ‘perfect storm’ of unique disruptions to the local economy. When you add in the temporary yet significant fiscal and monetary policies that were implemented in response to the pandemic recession, you have a perfect recipe for the current inflation that is challenging the economy today. However, I expect relief from many of these price pressures to begin in 2022. Fuel costs will be the biggest focus in the utility industry over the winter months, given the current natural gas prices in the market today. The company’s position to invest in additional renewable assets to minimize exposure to volatile gas prices is just one way Kentucky Power is looking out for its customers.”

Brett Mattison President Chief Operating Office, Kentucky Power

“As our economy and communities continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic, our nearly 3,600 employees continue their dedicated work to provide our residents and businesses across Kentucky with safe, reliable energy service and to empower them by supporting much-needed community programs and initiatives. We know that key drivers in moving the Bluegrass forward are our commitment to providing award-winning, uninterrupted energy service around-the-clock at some of the lowest costs in the nation; offering a variety of programs to support the sustainability goals of our customers; collaborating on innovative solutions for a sustainable energy future; and doing our part to ensure everyone has the same opportunities for a brighter tomorrow.”

John R. Crockett III President LG&E and KU Energy LLC

“This year’s rapid economic rebound caught many unprepared, creating challenges ranging from supply chain interruptions to inflationary pressures. I am optimistic the rebound will continue as obstacles are overcome. Kentucky’s rural economies are poised for growth. Major industries help moderate energy costs, so state policymakers must ensure Kentucky’s rural residents are treated fairly when it comes to major economic development projects. America’s rapid expansion of low-carbon energy sources will continue, increasing the pressure on regulators and policymakers to devote serious attention to 24/7/365 grid reliability, especially when crises strike.”

Anthony “Tony” Campbell President/CEO, East Kentucky Power Cooperative

“Water is linked to growing Kentucky’s economy and Louisville Water Co. is a key ingredient in the state’s success. Some of biggest announcements in 2021 were directly linked to water, in particular, food and beverage, and manufacturing. There’s a ripple effect with many of these announcements with new housing and support services and Louisville Water is already looking at how to support the surrounding communities with infrastructure and supply. In 2021, Louisville Water saw a rebound in water sales from the COVID-19 pandemic, when sales dipped to their lowest levels since the 1960s. We forecast 2022 to be a year of growth, fueled by the economic development announcements in the communities surrounding Louisville. Louisville Water is a regional water provider, delivering drinking water to nearly 1 million people in the region. Our economy-of-scale combined with an abundant supply and some of the highest quality water in the United States makes us an asset to the quality of life and a vibrant business environment.”

Spencer Bruce President/CEO, Louisville Water Company

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