- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 7, 2015

HENDERSON, Ky. (AP) - An independent review commissioned by the Kentucky Public Service Commission suggests that Big Rivers Electric Corp. should consider selling power plants that it doesn’t need after losing its two largest customers.

The outside audit, which was released Tuesday, said that the company should explore the sale of both the D.B. Wilson power plant in Centertown and the Kenneth C. Coleman plant in Hawesville, local media outlets reported.

The audit also said that Big Rivers will need to “move more aggressively in coming years” to mitigate the loss of the Century Aluminum smelters in Hawesville and Sebree, which made up two-thirds of the company’s revenue.

In addition, the report suggested that the company should “consider merger with another cooperative or sale to another utility,” as well as explore refinancing its debt.

“This report helps draw a road map for Big Rivers going forward,” PSC Chairman David Armstrong said in a news release. “The PSC will work with Big Rivers to address the audit’s findings and recommendations.”



The commission ordered the audit in April 2014, when it approved a rate increase requested by Big Rivers.

“We are committed to pursuing Big Rivers’ core business in a manner that keeps our electric rates as low as possible and maximizes the value of our assets to our members,” Big Rivers’ president and chief executive Robert W. Berry said in a letter included in the report.

In an email, company spokesman Marty Littrel told the Messenger-Inquirer newspaper that Big Rivers couldn’t comment on the audit report.

Big Rivers is owned by the three distribution cooperatives to which it provides power, including Jackson Purchase Energy Corp., Kenergy Corp. and Meade County Rural Electric Cooperative Corp. Those cooperatives serve about 112,000 customers in western Kentucky.

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