FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2012
Consumers Against Rate Hikes Recognizes NC Legislature for No Action on Annual Rate Hike Bill
Raleigh, NC - Consumers Against Rate Hikes, a coalition of consumer, economic justice, and environmental groups today thanked North Carolina legislators for NOT introducing an Annual Rate Hike bill. Duke and Progress energy corporations had pushed hard last spring for legislation to allow annual electric rate hikes to pre-fund new power plants with minimum review by the North Carolina Utilities Commission. Duke Energy’s CEO, Jim Rogers, had testified before the Commission that such legislation was essential to build Duke’s Lee nuclear power plant. He also testified that Duke had the legislative leadership’s assurance that they could get the votes to pass it. When news of the Fukushima disaster broke, they withdrew their 2011 efforts on the issue.
Speaking on behalf of the coalition, Chris Estes, Executive Director for the NC Housing Coalition, said “Sometimes what legislators refuse to do is as important as what they do. We’re extremely pleased that the legislative leadership listened to local citizens, elected officials, and small business owners who pointed out the devastating impact that this would have on local budgets and new jobs.”
The coalition had expected Duke and Progress to try again to have legislators push a bill though this legislative short session. Skyrocketing costs and delays with new nuclear plant projects, a robust coalition campaign against the bill, and very unfavorable polling appear to have raised major questions in the minds of the legislators. Polling by Public Opinion Polling showed 86% of likely voters oppose the plan.
Consumers Against Rate Hikes expects the now-merged Duke-Progress energy corporation to keep pressing prior to the 2013 session to persuade legislators to introduce the bill despite increasing backlashes against such legislation in Florida.
Both Duke and Progress say they will file to get new rate hikes this fall. In this struggling economy those rate hikes, and the prospects of passing a bill for annual rate hikes, are likely to remain very unpopular.
Consumers Against Rate Hikes is a group of organizations representing consumer, social justice, and energy watchdog groups taking pre-emptive action against proposed annual rate hikes by Duke and Progress energy corporations.
Consumers Against Rate Hikes is supported by:
AARP North Carolina
Alliance for NC SAVE$ ENERGY
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
Clean Water for NC
NC Fair Share
NC Housing Coalition
NC Interfaith Power & Light (a program of the NC Council of Churches)
NC Justice Center
NC League of Conservation Voters
NC WARN: Waste Awareness & Reduction Network
Western NC Physicians for Social Responsibility