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Bill Would Allow Electric Coops to Enter Broadband Market

Kentucky's electric cooperatives would be able to provide broadband service under legislation passed by the 2006 Kentucky General Assembly in late March.

House Bill 568,

 
"This simply allows our electric cooperatives to engage in other business activities provided they agree to some significant added responsibilities."

- Rep. Rob Wilkey
   D-Scottsville
 
sponsored by Rep. Rob Wilkey, D-Scottsville, would amend current law to allow rural electric coops to provide nonregulated services like broadband through an affiliate.  Wilkey said a November 2005 Kentucky Supreme Court ruling, which prevents electric coops from providing any service but electrical service, makes the legislation necessary.

"No electric program in the U.S. will have greater requirements on the operation of nonregulated activities than the state of Kentucky," under HB 568, said Wilkey.  "This simply allows our electric cooperatives to engage in other business activities provided they agree to some significant added responsibilities."

Those responsibilities include adopting a code of conduct that Wilkey said would "drive a firewall" between the coop and nonregulated business.  The use of an affiliate was mandated to prevent any subsidy of the nonregulated business by the coop and facilitate compliance with Public Service Commission regulations.

"I think it (the bill) does provide adequate protection," he added.

The measure was delivered to the Governor for his signature on March 22.

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Last Updated 4/3/2006
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