Emergency rate hike approved for struggling Ky. water system

Published 6:00 am Saturday, July 10, 2021

Kentucky’s Public Service Commission has authorized a struggling eastern Kentucky water district to increase its customer rates.

The increase for Martin County’s water district is “necessary to prevent the district from falling further into financial and operational distress,” the commission said in a release Friday.

The small Appalachian water district is $1 million in debt and needs the increase to avert shutting down operations or being placed into receivership, the commission said.

The district has made some progress since a third-party management company stepped in to help, the commission said, but “decades of mismanagement” have left it in poor condition.

The approved rates will increase the bill of a typical residential customer by $5.86, or more than 11 percent.

The commission regulates gas, water, sewer, electric and telecommunication utilities operating in the state.