By Kathryn Mobley
Wednesday night in Winston-Salem, protestors from the mountains to the Triangle rallied outside of the Forsyth County Court House.
There were drummers, Puppeteers parading a larger than life smiling bright, yellow sun with hands, and people wearing oversized heads representing Duke Energy executives.
“I’m Vicki Ryder with the Raging Grannies from the Triangle. There is no rate hike needed, it’s stealing from people,” claims Ryder. “Duke Energy is making profits hand over fist. So their profits should go back into providing service for the people not into the pockets of their chief executive officers.”
Ryder and the Raging Grannies sang protest songs. One she set to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic and titled, “No Rate Hike! No Way!” Jane Bratter also sings with the group. She’s an independent artist in Winston-Salem. Bratter says she’s resourceful, but she says she can only stretch things so far. “I’m on a fixed income. And to raise rates on the poor, elderly or people on fixed incomes, it’s disgraceful.”
More than 70 opponents came from the Triangle, Danbury, Salisbury, the Triad and from communities in between protesting Duke Energy’s proposed rate hike. Bill Gupton says he wouldn’t mind paying more if Duke Energy would practice more conservation techniques. “There’s very little that’s being done with renewable energy, wind and solar, regarding energy efficiency programs.” explains Gupton. “We would love to see Duke reduce our energy demand by 20%, that’s the best way to keep rates down.”