Public Service Commission Locked in Court Battle Over Solar Legislation Communication

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Public Service Commission is locked in a court battle over records relating to solar net metering legislation.

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth say PSC has violated Kentucky’s Open Records Act by not fully disclosing communications between the commission and legislators, utility companies, or lobbyists but PSC argues they are complying with the law.

KFTC filed open records request in 2019 seeking to have communication records including emails and records of meetings concerning 2018’s House Bill 227, and 2019’s Senate Bill 100, both net metering bills. The organization was seeking to see if the commission had inappropriate communications between the utility companies, legislators or lobbyists. PSC denied the requests saying they were exempt from having to comply with the open records law because the communication they are seeking was with a private individual. Then-Attorney General Andy Beshear sided with KFTC and said PSC was in violation of the open records law and must produce the documents, PSC is now appealing those decisions.

KFTC filed a response to the two appeals in Frankfort Circuit Court Friday where they maintain PSC is not exempt from providing communications between themselves and the individuals lobbying for the net metering legislation and say what records they have received prove utility companies and the commissioner helped accelerate passage of SB 100 which KFTC says is an anti-solar energy law.

The organizations say the records they have received show PSC wrote pro-SB 100 letters to members in the Kentucky House as well as worked closely with the utility lobbyist in support of the legislation. PSC is the regulatory body of utility companies.

KFTC is still hoping to get the rest of the records from PSC.

“Because of the PSC’s apparent coziness with traditional electric utilities and their continued attempts to hide evidence relating to how they do their job, this lawsuit has turned into a fight for transparency in government,” said Erza Dike, KFTC leader, and NET Committee member. “A fight to protect the rules and norms that help ensure that our government isn’t corrupt. A fight to ensure that government agencies serve all of us instead of just a few rich corporations and shareholders. Make no mistake, this is a fight for our democracy.”

The Public Service Commission said they could not comment further on the denial of the records because it is on-going litigation.

A hearing date has not been set yet.

Senate Bill 100 changes the rate structure for people to sell back excess energy that is generated from solar panels to utility companies. 

To view, the lawsuits click here and here.