On Feb. 23, the North Carolina Utilities Commission granted Duke Energy’s request to raise the rates of customers of its subsidiary Duke Energy Progress, which services part of the state.
While the increase was less than the utility requested, the commission allowed the monthly mandatory fee to jump from $11.13 to $14, an increase of 25 percent. Duke requested the rate hike in part to cover the cost of coal ash cleanup at basins across the state mandated after coal ash spilled into the Dan River.
“We are disappointed that the commission did not stand up for customers – especially those struggling to pay their bills,” said Gudrun Thompson, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, in a statement. “While Duke is enjoying record profits, the commission undercut customers’ ability to reduce their energy use and lower their bills with cost-effective energy efficiency.”
Duke has also requested to increase the fixed rate for its Duke Energy Carolinas customers, from $11.80 to $17.79. — Elizabeth E. Payne