Whitesburg KY

Top power official invited to answer questions at forum

Kentucky Power Company’s top official has been invited to attend a public forum being held in Whitesburg tomorrow (Thursday) to give Letcher County residents the opportunity to comment on the Dec. 18 power outage which affected more than 7,000 homes, some for more than a week.

Kentucky Power President and COO Timothy Mosher and Kentucky Power District Manager Michael Lasslo have been invited to the meeting, which will be held at 4 p.m. in the Letcher Circuit Courtroom. State Rep. Leslie Combs, State Rep. Ancil Smith and State Sen. Johnny Ray Turner were invited to the meeting, but will remain in Frankfort for the first week of 2010 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

“It’s to give people the opportunity to come in and voice their opinions and concerns about the power outages,” said Liberty Campbell, district secretary for Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney Edison G. Banks II.

Banks is expected to formally ask a Letcher County grand jury earlier on Thursday to conduct an investigation to determine whether Kentucky Power’s lack of preventive maintenance may have contributed to the severity of the most recent outage.

Banks said many local residents share the belief that Kentucky Power is no longer spending the money necessary to keep its service lines in good operating condition and cleared of small trees.

Campbell said the forum is a community meeting and not part of the grand jury session. She said although issues related to the power company will be discussed, including the company’s proposed 35-percent rate increase, the meeting is not designed to focus only on the power company. Campbell said the forum will also look at how citizens can be better informed of services that are available to them during prolonged power outages.

Banks has asked that people who lost power during the storm fill out a simple form explaining how long their power was out, if they have health problems, and whether they experienced any financial losses and other hardships during the outage.

The forms can be picked up in the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office or at the meeting on Thursday. The forms are to be completed and returned to Banks’s office by Jan. 31.

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