A recent analysis of electricity rates in Olive Hill, Kentucky, shows customers have bore the brunt of several increases in rates, some of which were improperly performed, in the last six years, the Journal-Times reports.

The media outlet gathered years of electicity bills from residential customers in Olive Hill, and after sifting through all of the documents, found that in March 2006, the city raised the electric usage rate per 100 hours. Since then, the city has raised the price of electricity 36 times, and 20 of these increases were made without notifying the public beforehand.

Kentucky law states that "the rates charged for services by municipally-owned electric utilities shall not be increased except after a public hearing following reasonable notice thereof," however, according to the news source, the rates were not proposed in this manner.

The most aggressive rate increase occurred in may 2010, when residential electricity rates rose from $8.00 to $12.80 per 100 kilowatt-hours – the highest usage rate in the city's history.

Competitive energy markets can help keep rate increases in check, as they encourage residents and businesses to shop around for electricity rates when existing plans experience increases or other changes.