Front Porch Blog

Duke Energy-backed bill would raise rates, doesn’t guarantee climate measures

Duke Energy is forcing through legislation in North Carolina (House Bill 951) that would raise rates astronomically. Low-income families, many of whom are still struggling to pay their utility bills as a result of the pandemic, will bear a disproportionate burden of those costs. Similar legislation in Virginia led to families and small businesses being overcharged by $1.2 billion dollars over the course of only four years.

Instead of taking the path outlined by Governor Cooper’s Clean Energy Plan, Duke Energy has continued to work behind closed doors to write legislation that lines the pockets of its shareholders, on the backs of ratepayers, while failing to guarantee that the 70% carbon reductions envisioned in the bill will even be achieved by the 2030 target date.

Specifically, the bill:

  • Sets a goal for reducing carbon emissions by 70% by 2030, but falls short of mandating it.
  • Allows Duke Energy to earn extra profit while preventing the NC Utilities Commission from determining how those extra earnings should be used, such as returning it to customers, investing in energy efficiency for families and small businesses, or protecting workers as we transition to new forms of energy generation.
  • Fails to provide adequate support for low- to moderate-income ratepayers that are accessible to all communities.

In an attempt to quell opposition to the bill, several lawmakers — on both sides of the aisle — are making spurious claims about how the bill benefits and protects low-income customers.

Appalachian Voices Senior Energy Analyst Rory McIlmoil authored a point-counterpoint breakdown explaining how those claims — first made by Sen. Newton but now being shared by other lawmakers — are misleading our elected officials and the public. Read the breakdown here.

This bill does not do enough for us. It continues to give money to Duke and their shareholders, and makes families and businesses foot the bill.

Josh McClenney is a field coordinator for Appalachian Voices' work on energy democracy. He can most likely be found playing with his two dogs, at the nearest outdoor concert or trying to achieve the perfect cheesecake.


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