By Travis Fain
A new coalition of environmental groups called for a sea change Wednesday in how North Carolina does electricity: an end to Duke Energy’s monopoly.
The group delivered letters to Gov. Roy Cooper and General Assembly leadership that said “the interests of utility monopolies no longer coincide with those of the state’s electric power customers.”
They also called on politicians up and down the ladder to stop taking campaign contributions from the energy giant.
Organizers said they’re not calling for deregulation but for a regulated model that allows more competition. They pointed to a number of states as examples, including Texas, Ohio, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and California.
They also pointed to a recent study from the Retail Energy Supply Association that said monopoly states saw their average energy prices increase nearly 19 percent from 2008 to 2017. Prices fell 7 percent in competitive markets over the same period, the study said.
This sort of shift would be a massive change, with hundreds of details. Organizers said they were working on legislation and that they had not yet lined up a sponsor to carry the bill. The state’s legislative session began three weeks ago, and state leaders didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the initial proposal.