To the Editor:
People in Letcher County and eastern Kentucky are getting bled dry by the Kentucky Power Company. While many people in our county are drawing $600 or less every month and our coal miners are losing their jobs, the fat cats running the power company are living well.
AEP is the parent company of Kentucky Power, and they seem, for all practical purposes, to be inseparable. While the power company executives have put a heavy burden on the people with their steady rate increases, they have treated themselves very generously. A comparison of executive pay and benefits of several power companies show AEP’s to be one of the highest, if not the highest paid of any electrical utility management group.
The latest information available shows AEP CEO Nicholas Adkins with a salary of $1,279,900 plus $6,719,000 in stock and additional stock options. It all adds up to pay of $11,452,566. He and the other executives also have free use of a company plane and a motor pool from which they can get cars and drivers.
AEP’s shareholders have also fared well. During the last five years the quarterly dividend has gone from .46 to .56 (up more than 20%), and the stock price has nearly doubled from 33.09 to 65.68, certainly one of the leaders in the industry.
There are numerous complaints about the company’s arrogance — unannounced cutoffs, rude behavior, and refusal to keep promises. The company is indifferent and unresponsive to reports of trees and other objects endangering power lines. AEP/ Kentucky Power would apparently prefer risking failures and causing customer inconvenience and problems rather than doing something to prevent them. That’s not the type of performance to justify their rate increases.
This is not a situation recently created. There were enough complaints to cause two Letcher County Grand Jury investigations of Kentucky Power — the first in 1996 and another in 2009.
Call your legislators and the governor’s office and demand changes in the way these rate increases are approved, and in the way the members of the Kentucky Public Service Commissioners get their jobs.
Governor – 502-564-2611; Rep. Leslie Combs – 502-564-3940; Public Service Commission – 502- 564-3940; House Speaker Greg Stumbo – 502-564-3366; Senator Jonny Ray Turner – 502-564-6136; Senator Leader Robert Stivers – 606-598-2322; and Senator Brandon Smith – 502-564-8100.
The public is welcome to call me anytime at 606-832-4752.
WAYNE FLEMING Letcher County Magistrate, District Five