Serving approximately 22,500 customers, Paducah Power System has been bringing public power to the citizens of Paducah/McCracken County since September 1, 1961. The municipal system is supplied with wholesale power by the Prairie State Energy Campus in Washington County, Illinois and generates peaking power at its generation plant on Schneidman Road in Paducah. The power is distributed through 10 substations scattered throughout the PPS service territory, the newest of which is currently under construction in Lone Oak. The system contains 800 miles of distribution line, including a fiber optic network that serves as a backbone for area internet providers.
Formerly owned and operated by Kentucky Utilities, the system broke away from KU throughout a process that began in 1943 when the Paducah City Commission served notice on KU that the city wanted to exercise its franchise option to buy the company's electric distribution properties within Paducah. Over the next 17 years, city officials and concerned citizens worked diligently to buy the system and to become a distributor of Tennessee Valley Authority power. Following a bond issue and a public vote, the property was handed over to the Paducah Electric Plant Board, and the transfer of service from KU to TVA occurred at midnight, December 31, 1962. Thus began a new era of public power in McCracken County.
The newest era began in December 2004, when PPS gave TVA notice that it planned to find a new wholesale supplier. After 43 years of partnering with TVA, Paducah Power chose to end its contract with TVA in search of more stable rates for its customers. In January, 2005, the Electric Plant Board voted to invest in the Prairie State Energy project that was about to commence construction in southern Illinois. Throughout the construction phase, Paducah Power finished its contract with TVA, built a natural gas fired peaking plant on Schneidman Road and prepared for the transition to Prairie State. The Prairie State power plant consists of two 800 megawatt generating units which were completed in 2012 and provides wholesale power to some 2.5 million customers in eight states across the Midwest. More information about the campus can be found here.
The next stage of growth for Paducah Power System will come as the system looks for ways to enhance economic development and interconnectivity with other communities through its fiber optic network.