Statement by NC WARN Executive Director Jim Warren:
NC WARN will be watching to see if Progress Energy tries to slip in $100s of millions in improper annual expenses – as its parent corporation Duke Energy did in its past two rate cases.*
Operating expenses often comprise a larger portion of an electric utility’s rate increases than do the construction of power plants and other capital investments.
We are also very concerned by Progress’ statement that seems to indicate it will follow Duke’s lead in rigging rates against small customers. Duke shifts costs away from the largest customers by allocating generation costs based on the single hottest hour of the year. NC WARN is currently contesting such rate-rigging by Duke, and will vigorously challenge any Progress attempt to begin using such a discriminatory rate-making method.**
Today’s rate request is another signal that Progress and Duke are moving in the wrong direction. Both are planning serial rate hikes and continued high emissions of climate-changing carbon; their increasing reliance on natural gas means more fracking, which causes large amounts of methane to leak directly into the atmosphere.
And both Progress and Duke continue planning puny investments in energy-saving programs and renewable power.
The interests of Duke-Progress are increasingly out of sync with the wellbeing of North Carolina. So why are they still granted monopoly control over our future?
* See Has Duke Energy Been Cheating on Rate Hikes?
* See Duke Energy Rigs Rates against Small Businesses and Families