Rate Disputes Put Utility's Future in Question

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Questions are being raised about the future viability of a regional utility in western Kentucky.

The Gleaner reports doubts about future of Henderson-based Big Rivers Electric Corp. was a topic of discussion on Thursday as the utility tried to persuade the Kentucky Public Service Commission to allow it to use existing cash to pay $58.8 million for a bond that comes due June 1.

In addition, Big Rivers' credit rating was downgraded last month and the company's auditor is actively evaluating its financial status.

The concerns stem from a rate dispute between Big Rivers and two aluminum smelters. The smelters are the utility's largest customers and they have both given notice that they intend to end their power contracts in coming months.

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