A nonprofit working for climate protection through clean, efficient, affordable energy

Duke Energy’s Dirty Power Plan

Are you ready for the clean energy future? Are you sick of Duke Energy dragging its feet on the way there — and making us pay for the detour? Then join us in opposing Duke Energy’s repeated rate-hike requests and pushing for clean, affordable energy for North Carolina.

There will be a public hearing in Raleigh on Duke’s long-term Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). It will be held Monday, April 28 at 7 p.m. (arrive by 6:30 to get on the list of speakers). Click here for location and map. To learn more, you can:

IRP Talking Points

Some talking points for arguing against Duke’s dirty long-term plan (but be sure to talk of your own experiences, concerns and knowledge)

  • Duke Energy’s growth forecasts are in disarray. Duke claims growth will be 1.5% in their IRP (which includes energy efficiency!) but CEO Lynn Good and NC President Paul Newton have projected 0.5 – 0.9% in public statements. Former CEO Jim Rogers is now maintaining that the industry’s growth will be flat to declining.
  • NC WARN believes Rogers’ flat growth prediction is more accurate for planning today, but still may be excessive given energy efficiency and more and more competitive solar energy and other options.
  • The difference between 1.5% growth and no growth is almost $25 billion in new plant construction over the next 15 years – that’s $25 billion of ratepayer money!
  • Duke Energy only has planned for 3% renewable energy (including solar) in 2029, even though the NC Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard requires 12.5%.
  • All coal plants can be shut down, saving $1.7 billion going out of state in coal costs, reducing carbon emissions and reducing the amount of toxic coal ash in ponds next to drinking water supplies. The debate should be over which coal plants should be shut down first AND how soon they should be shut down. Duke Energy’s massive coal ash spill into the Dan River is proof that this issue is urgent.
  • Distributed generation puts energy where it is needed. This includes rooftop solar and other renewable sources, industrial and commercial combined heat and power (cogeneration), and micro-grid technologies, supported by pumped storage and batteries.
  • Duke Energy is actively attacking solar because it cannot meter the sun.

Rate Hikes

We fought Duke’s 2013 rate-hike request — its third since 2009 – that would have boosted average residential rates by 13.9% and rates for small to medium-sized businesses as much as 10.7%. Our research, testimony and grassroots protests exposed millions of dollars that Duke was trying to improperly charge to customers, as well as a complex rate-rigging scheme that shifted costs from large industrial customers to smaller customers.

In the end, the Utilities Commission granted Duke a 5% rate hike, but even that is too much, so we’ve appealed the case to the N.C. Supreme Court. Attorney General Roy Cooper agrees that the hikes are not in the public interest and has appealed the last two Duke rate hikes and last year’s Progress Energy rate hike.

Read our news releases and press coverage on the rate case and appeals:

Burning the Public series of news releases about the abuses we uncovered in Duke’s rate hike request

NC WARN Takes Duke Rate Hike to NC Supreme Court — News Release from NC WARN
October 23, 2013 — NC WARN is challenging Duke Energy’s monopoly control over North Carolina electricity customers by appealing a highly controversial rate hike to the NC Supreme Court.

Regulators Bless Duke’s Overcharging Strategy, Discriminatory Rates, and Backroom Dealmaking — News Release from NC WARN
September 25, 2013 — By approving another five percent rate hike with an order released last night, the NC Utilities Commission continued its support for Duke Energy’s business model of building dirty power plants and padding profits by gouging households and small businesses.

AG Cooper to appeal Duke rate hike — Charlotte Observer
September 25, 2013 — North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said Wednesday he will appeal the 4.5 percent rate hike granted to Duke Energy Carolinas this week… “The evidence just isn’t there to support a double-digit profit margin,” Cooper said.

Duke Rate Case Proves Monopoly System is Failing North Carolina — News Release from NC WARN
August 22, 2013 — NC WARN is challenging Duke Energy’s monopoly control over North Carolina electricity customers and calling on regulators to reject a controversial rate hike request.

New Tax Hike on Electricity Should Lower Duke Energy’s Proposed Increase — News Release from NC WARN
July 25, 2013 — Today, as part of the ongoing fight over a 5-6 percent average rate hike proposed by Duke Energy, NC WARN filed a motion calling for the NC Utilities Commission to consider the impacts of a new tax increase on electricity sales. The Tax Simplification and Reduction Act, signed into law on Tuesday, contains an electricity sales tax hike that represents the fourth sizeable increase on Duke customers in just four years.

Utilities Chair Deadbolts the Door on Duke Energy’s Backroom Deal — News Release from NC WARN
July 15, 2013 — After a week of damaging revelations about millions in “erroneous” overcharges by Duke Energy, NC Utilities Commission Chairman Ed Finley severely limited the rate case trial at a crucial moment last Friday, and used a false statement to do it. By disallowing NC WARN from questioning a witness about key aspects of the backroom deal-making that led to a proposed settlement between Duke and the Commission’s Public Staff, Finley effectively prevented public scrutiny of the deal and the actions of the publicly-paid employees who made it.

Group frustrated as Duke Energy rate hike hearing ends — Charlotte Business Journal
July 12, 2013 — Hearings on Duke Energy Carolinas’ proposed 5.1% rate hike ended Friday with the state’s customer advocate defending the proposal and a private watchdog group frustrated in attempts to learn how it was negotiated.

Duke Energy admits to more mistakes in rate hike case — WNCN
July 12, 2013 — NC WARN, has accused Duke Energy of “gross incompetence” or “corporate fraud.” The environmental justice group claims the nation’s largest utility company deliberately tried to defraud North Carolinians by submitting a rate hike proposal with expenses including corporate jet travel and political contributions.

Four agendas at play in Duke Energy’s NC rate hearing — Charlotte Business Journal
July 12, 2013 — The principal players battling over Duke Energy Carolinas’ proposed 5.1% rate hike had significantly different ideas about what this week’s hearing before the N.C. Utilities Commission was about. For Duke, the hearing was about $3.8 billion in new costs it must cover. For the commission’s public staff, it was about the how the agency’s proposed rate settlement balances Duke’s needs with those of customers. For the N.C. attorney general’s office, the hearing was about what return on equity Duke will be allowed and whether customers can afford it. For watchdog group NC WARN, it was about whether Duke can be trusted to honestly report costs and whether regulators will police the utility.

Regulators Begin Hearings On Duke Rate Increase
As regulators hear Duke rate case, advocacy groups cite corporate greed
Duke Energy faces accusations of overcharging customers
Duke Energy witnesses defend propriety of most customer charges
NC WARN: Duke Energy should pay penalty for improper charges
Duke Energy defends rate charges, settlement
Duke Energy critic disputes rate charges
Duke Energy’s profit margin is questioned
Duke cites errors in rate filing
Doing the math on Duke’s rate hike

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Duke Energy Rate Hike Hearings

Public hearings were held in cities around the state from May 21 to July 2. On July 8, evidentiary hearings began in Raleigh and were preceded by a Ratepayers Assembly. Below are links to media coverage of these events, and some photos from the Ratepayers Assembly.

Franklin: May 21 (Public speaks out against Duke rate increase at hearing, Macon County News)
Marion: May 22 (Public, officials debate Duke Energy rate hike, McDowell News)
Winston-Salem: June 19 (Duke Energy Rate Increase May Shrink, WFDD)
Charlotte: June 26 (Protesters take on Duke Energy, Charlotte Observer)
Hillsborough: July 2 (Final public hearing on Duke Energy rate hike held, WTVD Raleigh)
Raleigh: July 8, 1:30 pm, evidentiary hearing for testimony and cross examination of witnesses by Duke, Public Staff, and intervenors, preceded by press conference and Ratepayers Assembly at High Noon. (Duke Energy faces accusations of overcharging customers, WNCN Raleigh; more news coverage)

Photos from press conference and ratepayers assembly at the Utilities Commission on July 8:

“I’m digging into my profits to build a solar roaster for my cacao beans to push the limits of possibility. Can you imagine what could happen if Progress Energy dug into its profits to push the limits of possibility?

– Dan Rattigan, owner of The French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Asheville, NC, testifying at a Progress Energy rate hike hearing in March 2013


NC WARN Executive Director Jim Warren speaks to the media and the crowd

Satana Deberry of the N.C. Housing Coalition addresses the Ratepayers Assembly as Nick Wood of NC WARN looks on

Steve Hahn of AARP North Carolina

Monica Embrey of Greenpeace

NC ratepayers are not amused at the cozy relationship between the Straw Man Sheriff (NC Utilities Commission) and the Duke Energy monopoly…

…but once the crowd gets deputized to put things in order, Monopoly Man is soon hauled off to jail