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A Well-deserved Gift

The gift-giving season offers a fitting occasion to
make a big deal out of the fact that Kentuckians get the nation’s best deal on

No doubt we’d all like still lower rates. Heck, we
wouldn’t be Americans if we weren’t always trying to improve ourselves.

But among the gifts we enjoy just by living in Kentucky are the lowest electric
rates in the nation.

Electricity costs the average Kentucky residential
ratepayer 5.4 cents a kilowatt-hour, according to June estimates from the U.S.
Department of Energy-the most recent available. Some of you pay more than that,
some less. But to get the next-best deal you’d have to move to Washington state,
where consumers pay 5.5 cents. If you were the average American, you would pay
8.25 cents. If you lived in Hawaii you’d pay the highest rates-16.2 cents. (For
updated rates go to our Internet Web page htm,
and click your mouse where it reads "click here" in the last paragraph
of the story.)

For the past several years Kentucky has been among
the states with the lowest rates, vying with Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, which
get a lot of their power from relatively inexpensive hydroelectric dams. Kentucky
improved to number one this year as states in the West had to raise rates in response
to the California electricity deregulation boondoggle.

Jumping into first place as a result of other states
raising their rates actually shows the hard work and common sense that produced
this gift of low rates. Common sense because Kentucky has made wise use of our
resources of abundant water and coal. That wise use includes proceeding cautiously
on the issue of electricity deregulation. While many states such as California
have experimented with restructuring their electric industries, Kentucky has taken
a wait-and-see stance.

And this gift results from decades of hard work on
the part of government and industry to make policy that’s in the best interest
of all the people in Kentucky. Kentucky’s low rates mean more than a relatively
low bill for you each month. For a business it can make it easier to stay in business.
And it means more jobs and industry in the state-Kentucky’s economic development
recruiters always cite the advantages of our low electric rates when trying to
attract new business.

Kentucky’s electric cooperatives are proud of their
part in bringing you the gift of the lowest electric rates in the nation.

Paul Wesslund


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