Oct. 27—PIKEVILLE — The electricity provider for Eastern Kentucky residents will be sold, pending regulatory approval in mid-2022, the company announced Tuesday.
American Electric Power reached an agreement to sell Kentucky Power to Liberty Utilities. Liberty has more than 1 million customer connections in 13 states and Canada. Kentucky Power serves about 165,000 electricity customers in 20 Eastern Kentucky counties.
Earlier this year, AEP announced it was looking into a potential sale.
"Kentucky Power and its employees are an important part of the communities in Eastern Kentucky, and I am grateful for their valuable contributions to AEP," said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president and CEO. "Liberty's commitment to safety and operational excellence will allow Kentucky Power employees to continue their critical work producing and delivering reliable power for customers and communities. At the same time, the sale will strengthen AEP's ability to invest in projects that will support a resilient, cleaner energy system."
The 360 employees of Kentucky Power and its Big Sandy Plant in Louisa and 45 employees at AEP will be transferred to Liberty when the sale is completed.
"We've been proud to serve Kentucky Power customers for more than a century, and the commitment of our employees will remain strong throughout this transition and beyond," said Brett Mattison, Kentucky Power president and chief operating officer. "We are working closely with Liberty to ensure a seamless transition for our customers and communities. Through their focus on safety, reliability, customer service and sustainability, Liberty is well-positioned to serve Kentucky customers. The same skilled and experienced employees who work to keep the lights on for our customers will continue to do so as part of Liberty."
Kentucky Power was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Ashland. Liberty is based in Joplin, Missouri.
The sale must be approved by the Kentucky Public Service Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
During the transition, customers will continue to pay bills as usual and should report outages and safety hazards to Kentucky Power.
The electricity rates for customers will not be immediately affected. Any rate changes must be approved by the state's Public Service Commission.
At sale, Liberty will acquire AEP's Kentucky operations by purchasing Kentucky Power and AEP Kentucky Transco stock. AEP expects to net about $1.45 billion in cash after taxes and transaction fees.
Kentucky Power also operates a 1,560-megawatt coal-fueled Mitchell Plant located in Moundsville, West Virginia, and owns 50% of the plant. Kentucky Power is asking Wheeling Power, which owns the other 50%, to operate the plant going forward. The 200 employees will be transferred to Wheeling Power, upon approval. Liberty will own and obtain power from Kentucky Power's 50% portion of Mitchell Plant through 2028.
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