By Bianca Spinosa
DURHAM, N.C. – Activists will hold a rally Friday to call on Duke Energy to stop making people pay a fee if they pay their electric bills in person.The Triangle Duke Energy Action group plans to gather at a check cashing business in Durham to protest what they say are high rates. Last year, Duke Energy increased its rates 7 percent.The group will also be protesting what they say are high cut-off penalties and fees to pay in person, which the fee to pay in person is $2.
“We are glad that people are able to pay their bills in person. But those fees should come out of Duke Energy’s corporate profits, not the pockets of captured ratepayers of North Carolina,” says Nick Wood, NC WARN.
Duke Energy says their merger with Progress Energy will save ratepayers money.
“We guaranteed $687 million through the first five to six years post-merger, and we’ve already achieved $185 million through the first 18 months,” says Mike Hughes, Duke Energy.
The company says the merger was intended to pay for the high costs of updating old power plants with new cleaner energy. But critics are asking, “Where are the savings?”
“Duke has gone up in rates increases in ’09, ’11 and then last year. Progress had their first rate case they had in over 20 years, so the rates are going up,” says John Runkle, NC WARN.
NC WARN said in court, they want the power company to pay $27 million a year for a decade to help low-income residents.