Utilities Share How They’re Providing for Economic Success

The importance of utilities in economic development was a topic of discussion this week in Frankfort as legislators gathered in anticipation of the 2025 legislative session.

KLC board member Kevin Howard, the general manager of Berea municipal utilities, testified before the committee on Thursday about municipal utilities’ advantages and how Kentucky’s utilities are attracting businesses.

The infrastructure of the utility systems is a major economic driver, Howard said. Unprecedented funding in recent years has and continues to improve dated infrastructure, as limited infrastructure is a barrier to economic growth.

“Low-cost utilities are a key component in attracting new business to an area, and we realize the importance of maintaining these low rates to the success of our community’s economic development goals,” he said.

Municipals provide several advantages, Howard said, including local control, which allows local resources to match local needs that are locally regulated. Municipal utilities are able to respond more quickly to issues based on the service areas. And keep the dollars in the local community via local ownership.

“We hire local, we support local, and our focus is driven by local,” Howard continued.

The Kentucky City Utility Partnership (KCUP) provides electric, utility, sewer, water, and broadband services.

Kentucky Power, which services eastern Kentucky, also testified during Thursday’s meeting about how it is attracting business using utilities.