Some Residents In Richardsville May Lose Natural Gas Before Winter

By: Brett Baldeck Email
By: Brett Baldeck Email

"It's frustrating that they don't make them stay in business, but you can't ask someone to operate at a loss and we don't think that they should," says Jenkins.

RICHARDSVILLE, Ky. (WBKO) - For some in the small community of Richardsville, natural gas is somewhat of a commodity.

"Everything we use is gas," says Heather Jenkins.

Soon, the flame may go out.

"We might have to all switch over to the propane and the electric. It looks like it's a headache," says Jenkins.

On June 19, Richardsville Gas Company filed a request for abandonment with the Kentucky Public Service Commission, saying they can no longer afford to operate. Last week homeowners were notified of the pending closure, but one took an unusual step to save the company by requesting a rate increase.

"Most of my neighbors are elderly. They didn't know what to do when they got that notice. We didn't really know what to do when we got the notice so this seemed like the only thing that made sense was ask them to make a rate increase," says Jenkins.

Of the 48 customers using Richardsville Gas, 36 are homes. Heather Jenkins says all of them have signed a petition asking for a rate increase. The future of service now rests with the Kentucky Public Service Commission, who will be looking for a new buyer or an orderly way to shut down.

"The commission recognizes that people have become dependent on this company for service. We will do whatever we can to try and maintain continuity of service if at all possible but sometimes that is just not feasible," says Andrew Melnykovych, Director of Communications for the Kentucky Public Service Commission.

Unlike other utilities, there is no law requiring natural gas companies to serve.

"It's frustrating that they don't make them stay in business, but you can't ask someone to operate at a loss and we don't think that they should," says Jenkins.

A solution from the commission is expected before the winter season.

Richardsville Gas Company told us Monday a rate increase would not guarantee it could stay in business. Atmos Energy, the nearest competitor, has declined to take over if service stopped.

Before a final decision is made an informational meeting will likely be held by the Kentucky Public Service Commission.


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