Duke Energy Rate Increases Denied
Last Friday Duke Energy’s request to raise customers rates in North Carolina were rejected. That rarely happens and we consider it a win for NC!
The N.C. Utilities Commission’s denied the request that was going to affect customers in the territory from Tennessee border to Winston-Salem and the Durham area. It is not clear how it will affect these customers yet but Duke must now submit a new plan to the commission. That being said, Duke’s increase has approved an increase for Duke customers in eastern North Carolina and the Asheville area.
Duke set out to collect an additional $700 million annually from customers to recoup cost related to the expensive coal ash cleanup around the state. They requested an average increase for all customers of 13.6 percent. Under that plan, resident’s rates would have grown 16.7 percent, the largest increase of any customer group. Duke eventually lowered the request to 8.5 percent average increase this year. The commision approved an increase of 4.7 percent over the next four years. In 2022 that rises to 6 percent.
NC critics also expressed frustration that Duke pushed to raise rates the same year it revealed that CEO Lynn Good was given a 55 percent increase in compensation last year, taking her to $21.4 million. That’s the highest she’s ever made as cheif executive.
On Friday, the commission also:
▪ Said Duke can recover $546 million it spent on coal ash costs. But the commission hit the company with a penalty that reduces that figure by $70 million.
In penalizing Duke, the commission accused Duke of “pervasive, system-wide shortcomings” in its oversight of coal ash management. The penalty will be paid for by the company, not its customers, the commission said.
▪ Denied a request by Duke to have customers pay for a multibillion-dollar project known as Power Forward Carolinas, which the company has said will modernize the state’s electric system.
▪ Ordered Duke to refund to customers $60 million annually over four years in money it collects from them in advance to pay eventual state income taxes.
▪ Granted Duke permission to raise a basic monthly charge in residential customer bills to $14. The company had requested to increase it from $11.80 to $17.79. The increase will be offset by decreases in per kilowatt-hour charges for residential customers, the commission said.
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